Wednesday, December 10, 2014

21st Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations | Predictions



Lead Actor:

Michael Keaton, BIRDMAN
Steve Carell, FOXCATCHER
Benedict Cumberbatch, THE IMITATION GAME
Jake Gyllenhaal, NIGHTCRAWLER

Lead Actress:

Julianne Moore, STILL ALICE
Reese Witherspoon, WILD
Rosamund Pike, GONE GIRL
Jessica Chastain, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
Marion Cotillard, TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

Supporting Actor:

Ethan Hawke, BOYHOOD
Edward Norton, BIRDMAN
Mark Ruffalo, FOXCATCHER
Tom Wilkinson, SELMA

Supporting Actress:

Patricia Arquette, BOYHOOD
Meryl Streep, INTO THE WOODS
Emma Stone, BIRDMAN
Jessica Chastain, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR

My 72nd Golden Globes Awards' Nominations Predictions : Film

Best Motion Picture: Drama

1 Boyhood
2 The Imitation Game
3 Selma
4 Gone Girl
5 Unbroken

Best Motion Picture: Comedy/Musical
1 Birdman
2 The Grand Budapest Hotel
3 Into The Woods
4 Inherent Vice
5 Big Eyes

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture: Drama
1 Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
2 Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
3 Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
4 Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
5 David Oyelowo, Selma

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture: Drama
1 Julianne Moore, Still Alice
2 Reese Witherspoon, Wild
3 Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
4 Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
5 Jennifer Aniston, Cake

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture: Comedy/Musical
1 Michael Keaton, Birdman
2 Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
3 Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
4 Bill Murray, St. Vincent
5 Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture: Comedy/Musical
1 Amy Adams, Big Eyes
2 Emily Blunt, Into The Woods
3 Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
4 Kristen Wiig, The Skeleton Twins
5 Angelina Jolie, Maleficent

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
1 J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
2 Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
3 Edward Norton, Birdman
4 Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
5 Robert Duvall, The Judge

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
1 Meryl Streep, Into The Woods
2 Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
3 Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
4 Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
5 Emma Stone, Birdman

Best Director
1 Richard Linklater, Boyhood
2 Alejandro G. Inarittu, Birdman
3 Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
4 Angelina Jolie, Unbroken
5 David Fincher, Gone Girl

Best Screenplay
1 Richard Linklater, Boyhood
2 Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl
4 Graham Moore, The Imitation Game
5 Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Score
1 Unbroken
2 Interstellar
3 The Theory of Everything
4 Gone Girl
5 Birdman

Best Animated Feature Film
1 The LEGO Movie
2 How To Train Your Dragon 2
3 Big Hero 6
4 The Boxtrolls
5 The Book of Life

Best Foreign Language Film
1 Mommy, Canada
2 Force Majeure, Sweden
3 Ida, Poland
4 Two Days One Night, Belgium
5 Leviathan, Russia

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Director: Christopher Nolan
With: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, David Gyasi, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace 

I became a fan of Nolan after watching The Dark Knight and Inception, those two films are up there in my favorite movies chart. I even defended The Dark Knight Rises despite its imperfections. In Interstellar, it's official, I want to have Nolan's brain in a jar along with Darren Aronofsky's and Woody Allen's. Not that I am jumping up and down about it, in fact, it's only during the third act when I started to truly appreciate the film. But the first two was kind of lost to me, or it's the other way around.

That's how Nolan's films work (at least for me). It strays you for how intelligent they are and you'll end up not getting all the right details after watching it. It requires you to either rewatch it or just read summaries and explanations in the web. It takes a while for you to fully grasp his movies and Interstellar is no different. In fact, I think it is his most complicated and emotional film to date.

A thought provoker but also a heart tugger, Christopher Nolan's Interstellar will bring your mind far away to the galaxy but will lead your heart back home where it belongs. It's about a former NASA pilot named Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who had to leave his family behind to travel through a wormwhole in search for a new habitual planet. As what Michael Caine's character said, "We're not meant to save the world, we're meant to leave it."

Oh boy, I didn't expect it to be as ambitious and as metaphorical as I've imagined it would be that I think it's one of the most grandiose films I've ever seen. It's the embodiment of the phrase 'visually stunning' and behind all that is a concept that's rich in Science and a story about a subject everyone could relate to, love and family. Like the usual Nolan fashion though, the action scenes and its climax dominate the overall persona of the film. The climax especially wherein it completely stopped making sense that I think it's the dealbreaker for its haters, but it's the scene that astounded me the most and therefore, it made me lean towards loving it than loathing it. Those scenes, I said to myself, that's amazing imagination and magnificent vision. There's no problem with being ambitious when you could back it up like how Nolan would do in his films.

What made it even more stellar is the ensemble. You have a charismatic lead in Matthew McConaughey, a laughable yet commanding act by Anne Hathaway, touching performances by Jessica Chastain and Mackenzie Foy (Renesmee hehe) as Cooper's daughter Murphy, and more. The cameos are also terrific. Matthew McConaughey would probably end up on top of my best actor list for 2014 films and it's such a shame because if he didn't win Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, his performance in this movie would be a jackpot for him. I'd even dare say that his Cooper is probably his best performance. I do not understand how Nolan intended Anne Hathaway's character to be, but everything about her in the film was fun to watch, and for me cringe is equal to funny. My favorite character in the movie is Murphy, and I give credit to the actresses who played her because they're very good and very likable. Mackenzie Foy and Jessica Chastain are equally rootable in the film and they've overcome the most often cheesy script of Christopher Nolan.

It's not the cleanest film there is. The sound mixing is quite terrible especially in the end. The score is overbearing sometimes and this comes from a huge Hans Zimmer fan. Sure it's memorable and iconic, but it's not one of his most appealing compositions. Overall, I do hate and I do love his tracks.

Despite the flaws and the cheesiness, Nolan created a genius sci-fi drama that will remain as one of the memorable films of the year. The climax still resonates to me and I'm still in awe just by thinking about it. It's astonishing!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Director: David Ayer
With: Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Michael Peña

There will never be enough movies about World War II, Nazis, or just war in general. This year alone we had The Book Thief, The Monuments Men and The Wind Rises. And then we have the upcoming Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie. There are thousand stories and it seems like there will never be enough. David Ayer adds another film in this genre, entitled Fury. Set during the Second World War, the American soldiers make their final push in Germany as Adolf Hitler forces all his men including women and children to fight for the Nazi party. Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) leads a five man crew including a recently enlisted typist Norman (Logan Lerman) as the assistant driver and bow gunner of their tank 'Fury'.

Cinematically, it's everything a man craves in war scenes. But thematically, it's pretty thin especially for a World War 2 movie. It strives to be real and succeeds in its war scenes but sometimes it also fails to be believable in its human interaction parts. It thrives from its terrific tank and gun action scenes that it's easy to ignore the failure in the screenplay department. Nevertheless, it's still heavy as it involves gore, death and other horrible consequences of war. Character wise though it's a bit flat and slight. Not even the charismatic cast could save the narrowness of the story. While everyone delivered okay, they didn't have much of material to show their range as actors albeit the physical requirement of their roles, except for Logan Lerman. But even Lerman's character verged on absurdity in the beginning of the film, where he was hesitant to kill even amidst of the enemies killing his allies.

Not crazy about the ensemble either. Yes, it has Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, and a serious Shia LaBeouf, but it was Michael Peña who ended up being my favorite in the bunch with his great serving of comic relief in this heavily depressing topic of the film. The differences in these characters make for an interesting group but the story didn't engage me enough to their brotherhood and in the end, it wasn't that affecting as intended to be. I still much prefer George Clooney and his gang as 'The Monuments Men'.


Director: Damien Chazelle
With: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons

Have you ever had an instructor or a mentor or a professor that's so incredibly strict, you're always scared shitless around his or her presence? Whiplash gave me flashbacks of people of this kind mainly because of J.K. Simmons' amazing and unforgettable Terence Fletcher, a terrifying maestro of Andrew, a young jazz drummer played by Miles Teller.

From the first interaction of Simmons and Teller, the intensity never stopped and continuously heightened throughout the film. From Andrew trying to impress the famous school maestro Fletcher, to Fletcher finally noticing Andrew's potential, to Fletcher testing Andrew's limits, to Andrew sacrificing almost everything even his girlfriend to prove Fletcher that he's the one that he's looking for and to the rest of their relationship that went to turmoil. It's very reminiscent of Andi & Miranda Priestly's relationship in The Devil Wears Prada and Nina & his instructor in Black Swan, all are yearning for perfection.

But this one kicked it up a notch. It has humor scattered here and there but for some reason, I still find it scary as hell. Probably the scariest film I've seen this year. No exaggerations, and it's not even a horror or a suspense, Whiplash is music drama for chrissake.

Terence Fletcher, I'm telling you, is more frightening than Annabelle. That sinister doll's ludicrous face has no say compared to J.K. Simmons bald and wrinkled face with kinky bulging nerves on his forehead that seemed like horns will come out any minute every time he scolds at his players. So intense he'll remind you of the people you dread seeing in school, in workshops or wherever. But at the same time, it's difficult to distinguish whether he's a hero or a villain. Definitely a villain but there's something heroic about his intentions and that makes his character even more fascinating. Miles Teller's Andrew is equally brilliant and it's true when people say that this is his best showing to date. From Rabbit Hole, to The Spectacular Now, he's unstoppable and is proving to be one of the best actors of his generation. Interesting how his character is always involve with car crashes though.

The film depicts perfecting one's craft so well but I think the biggest critique people could throw for this film is that it somehow implied that music is about being perfect, about the keys and tempo instead of music being about one's instrument for expressing oneself. But I guess it's okay because it's been established by the two main characters that  it's about exceeding your limit to become one of the greats, and that makes it different from other music dramas. I see it as a film that's not really about music per se, but it's about being successful in one's skill and it just so happened that Andrew wanted to perfect drums, just like Nina wanted to embody the 'Black Swan' and Andi aiming to be Miranda's main assistant.

Whiplash might be one of the most nerve wracking, affecting and tiring movie that I've seen, yet in its last act, specifically how it ended, it literally felt like the whole movie house came of amazement.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Maps to the Stars

Director: David Cronenberg
With: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson

This movie has got to be one of the most brutal films one would ever see and it doesn't even involve a lot of gore, or blood to be brutal. But its satirical emblazoning of Hollywood is just uncomfortable yet fascinating to watch. I can never attest to what Hollywood is like, all I can rely to is the media's depiction of it so judging this film, it might be spot on and reading some of the reviews and comments about it, I'm pretty sure Maps to the Stars was made, not really to expose the scandals and bad behaviors of some Hollywood stars, agents and aspiring famewhores in the business, but perhaps, to also open the eyes of those who are unaware of the nature of Hollywood itself, or those who are simply clueless of their desperation for fame.

Maps involves characters that are so complex yet so fun to watch. It reminds me so much of the HBO show, The Comeback because it shares the same satirical and acerbic nature of exposing oblivious people in the Hollywood industry. Julianne Moore's character Havana Segrand for one reminds me of a way darker version of Valerie Cherish. She's nuts, but I'd love to see more of her and I think it's one of the main reasons why Maps to the Stars is extremely appealing because it reveals so much disparagement that sometimes, you're torn between being fascinated or disturbed by the actions, not only by Havana, but also the other characters and other people surrounding her.

The film flaunts so many polarizing characters that it's hard to enumerate them because of how complicated their characters evolved throughout the film. But all of them has redeeming qualities but the one that stands out to me are their faults. I guess that's just how it is in this kind of satire, the audience tend to focus on the wrongdoings. Well, that's because it involves a Justin Bieber-like character, a stage-parent, an aspiring actor, douchebags, hoes and all of them have one thing in common, they live in a character-eating industry that's hard to abandon.

With all these characters are great actors who played them. The Justin Bieber character I was referring about was played by Evan Bird and man, this guy is such a revelation. Olivia Williams and John Cusack served as his parents, and they're also brilliant, especially Williams who played a hilarious stage mother whose character is just lolhilarious. Then we have Robert Pattinson as a limo driver and struggling character who wants to be a successful writer, and this is probably one of his most daring role he's ever played. He's not likable in this. Mia Wasikowska as Havana's personal assistant is also one of the unsung heroes of the film. But it's Julianne Moore that slayed us all with her portrayal of Havana Segrand. Seriously, Moore is having a great year with all the achievements she's having from being the Best Actress in Cannes, and now the rave reviews for Still Alice. She's undeniably great in this and once again, she has proven that there's no character that she can't do. This is so different from all the roles that she played. Well, she's been in a variety of characters ranging from a lesbian parent, a porn star, a cult leader, Sarah Palin, but here in Maps, this is the first time I saw her really owning a character. She's super great in this and Havana wouldn't be the fun and dark Havana that I love because of her. I could forget all the other characters even though I also find them complex but I won't forget Havana, who truly is the main star of the film.

Maps to the Stars is an unforgettable and powerful satirical drama that will make you uncomfortable, and yet it would make you want to see more because it revealed so much truthfulness, some may be exaggerated but its entertaining nevertheless. Also, a must-watch for Julianne Moore's performance and character.


Director: John R. Leonetti
With: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Wooodard

Earlier this year, 'Annabelle', the doll character from the film The Conjuring made it to my top favorite movie characters of 2013. By that time, it never occurred to me that she will have her own spinoff, just because she's, well, merely a doll. But it didn't take long for the news to come out that she's indeed going to have a movie of her own. What a powerful dollvil!

I always thought that 'Annabelle' isn't that creepy looking. In fact, I thought her exterior is kind of funny, but the thought that there's something sinister going on with that doll to me is what makes her, or should I say 'it', creepy. I would be lying if I say that Annabelle didn't scare the hell out of me.

It did. From beginning to end.

But it's biggest problem would have to be its slight story. The Conjuring was successful because it boasted from jump-out-of-the-seat scares, complex stories and top notch casting. It was a complete package. They even brought back one of the horror stars Lili Taylor. Annabelle is like the opposite except it still delivered the scares. But its cast was a little lackluster (although I really liked the blonde Tina Fey), and there's nothing complex about its story, very basic and something that has been done and seen before. In fact, I think it utilized the horror formula too much -- a basic family story, something sinister happened, some random character/s help them from solving the mystery, one's going to die, and finally the main characters defeat the 'protagonistic villain'. Thanks to its frightening nature, I think it's still value for money.

At the end of the day, you watch horror films for the scares so Annabelle is pretty much a successful film in that case. But if you're one moviegoer who also watches horror to learn something new, or find any interesting story, Annabelle has nothing to offer that The Conjuring hasn't already explored.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Another good Tribal Council care of the Coyopa tribe. First, we've got a classic blindside that didn't need an idol, only a flip from Baylor. Second, a tiebreaker and this week, a man with the idol in his pocket got blindsided and that man is no other than John Rocker. It's 3/3 for San Juan del Sur.

On paper, this might be the best one yet of this season and I have been vocal about my appreciation for this but for some reason, the third episode, despite having the best Tribal Council so far, it frustrates me because there are only few people given strategic perspectives in their confessionals. 

We get it Probst, this season is Blood vs Water but you don't have to juice out every possible dramatic scenario for every pair. I am getting tired of the dramatics every Reward Challenge and it doesn't help that the challenges are not that exciting because even though they're playing with each other, reward is the only thing at stake, and I guess Exile Island. But what about tribal dynamics? We need more of those. After having a season with challenge practices, chicken reward celebrations, rice dumpings, etc., here they are stepping backwards again. I miss Cagayan!

Not only that, I don't know if it's the editing or the players but one of the things I dislike about this season is that only a few players are given strategic perspectives in their confessional. The rest are just either for complaints, narratives, etc. Those factors are important, I get it, but strategy is also one thing that made the last couple of seasons work. It's not that these people aren't smart or whatsoever, but it's hard to root for people when they only narrate scenes, and we can't figure out what their strategies are in this game.

Speaking of confessionals featuring strategy, Josh is one of this season's players that's been consistently shown talking about game moves. For Coyopa, it's definitely him and for Hunahpu, it's Jeremy. I don't see any looming danger for these two anytime soon so I assume they'll both go far and one of them would win. It would be an exciting end game hopefully but see how it can be predictable? Oh well... I'm really hoping I'm wrong.

This week, Josh gets another Plummy for leading the charge to flush out the idol from Rocker, and forming a new alliance where his voice will be heeded. Baylor remains by his side, and now with Wes, Jaclyn and Alec and he's totally golden in his tribe. Let's proceed to the ranking:

16. Dale

There's something off about Dale this episode. It seems like he's starting to get comfortable and cocky, and I didn't like that. Coyopa did a great job for keeping him in the dark because I'm sure that if even only one of them informed him about the John Rocker boot, he's gonna blab it, John's gonna play his idol, and we'd be robbed with a John blindside. So thank you Coyopa!

15. Alec

Thank goodness Alec voted John Rocker because I thought he'd be the reason why Josh's plan would not come to fruition. Still, I don't like his reasoning behind wanting to keep John instead of Baylor. It's an acceptable reason but it's also boring so, I don't like Alec that much anymore. Plus, I don't like how he sarcastically mocked Natalie after the Immunity Challenge. 

14. Reed

Still invisible but harmless. I have a feeling he's not gonna last long.

13. Kelley

Too quiet this episode. I am not sure who's the token invisiblonde anymore. Is it Jaclyn or is it Kelley? Both are but so far, Kelley is more invisible.

12. Jon

MVP of the Immunity challenge handsdown.

11. John

I've got nothing against John because I think he's nice deep inside but there's obviously some scenes that was not shown last episode. Still, I love me some drama so it would probably be boring in Coyopa now that their biggest star is gone. But better him than Baylor I guess. Underdogs FTW

10. Wes

I'm starting to like Wes. I like that he's more inclined in following through Josh's plan compared to Alec and I like that he actually followed through it and helped in executing the Josh blindside. Wes clearly knows how to play the game but we need to see more of him so we can judge him thoroughly.

9. Keith

Oh Keith! Reminds me of Rudy Boesch for his comment about Josh's sexuality. A little bigot but for some reason, he still comes across as hilarious and lovable. I'd love for Keith to stay longer and I think he can because he's allies with Jeremy.

8. Baylor

My lowest rank for Baylor so far but I still love her as hell. I love a player who consistently fights for their life even if they're in an almost hopeless situation. I love that she approaches people and actually ask them about forming an alliance. Basically, I love that she makes moves that even if she's not the reason why Wes and Alec flipped to their side, her efforts are highly appreciated. I can see her going far, really. She consistently have massive airtime too!

7. Jeremy

Jeremy might have been a little too defensive but what can you do? Val is his wife and she was voted out despite having a deal with one of his wife's tribemate. But I like him because he continuously exceeds my expectations. To me, he doesn't reek of intelligence, but his likability shines and it works for him well. I think he's got a good combination of good common sense and charisma that's why I think he's gonna go far and possibly win too.

6. Drew

Drew has been edited negatively since the premiere. I thought it's going to change anytime soon but it never changed and it might never will since next week, it looks like it will be the peak of his negativity. But I find him super hilarious so I've got nothing against him. The more he stays, the better. I hope him and Baylor ends up being the Final 2. It would be fabulous.

5. Missy

The angelic Missy wasn't shown that much this episode but she's still the consoling mommy that never fails to make me awww. She teared up when Wes and Keith were having some moment, and then she's the one who consoled Julie when she felt alone. Missy FTW!

4. Natalie

Love Natalie's fire! Her moment with Rocker after the Immunity Challenge is currently the most debated scene of the season in different Survivor communities and she may not be the most righteous player at that moment, I'm with her because I love it when someone stands up for themselves. Plus, I love that she's not afraid to voice out her thoughts to her tribemates. One regarding Drew. But I like both so I hope they spare the two from being voted off.

3. Julie

A goddess that keeps on giving. She's exceeded my expectations of her numerous times and I love every moment she's in. Now that John is gone, I hope Julie can focus on the game more and prove to the viewers further that she's actually a gamer. I would also love to see her win this game.

2. Josh

He's got so many haters but he consistently impress me for leading the charge in Coyopa. That's why I'm a fan. He easily created an alliance, something Baylor can't even do. He's got credibility and likability that his tribemates don't see any ounce of doubt with him. I hope he continues to lead the charge in Coyopa and I freakin hope they start winning now too.

1. Jaclyn

LOL Jaclyn. This is most likely unexpected but I love her this episode. The idea of Jaclyn amuses me. An invisiblonde but for some reason, they always give her a shining moment at Tribal being a snarky warrior no one ever saw coming. It's a bonus that she's beautiful. Like Julie, she's also exceeded my expectations because I thought she's just going to be one of Coyopa's weakest member but she actually comes off as strong may it be in challenges, in spirit and in battling the elements. I don't see her complaining and I love it when she speaks her mind and fight for her spot in the game. I hope she goes far. :)

1. Jeremy
2. Josh
3. Baylor

Next week: Hunahpu faux kingpin is gonna rule our world and I can't wait for it. I hope Hunahpu loses so we'd be able to discover more of their dynamics.

If you've got any questions or comments, feel free to post it here or tweet me @jaynormouskid

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gone Girl

Director: David Fincher
With: Rosamund Pike, Ben Affleck, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

I tried to make this as spoiler free as possible but read it as you may. This movie...may truly...kill me. As I've waited to see this for months and now that I did, I just may die because of its awesomeness. Of course, that's an exaggeration but it truly didn't disappoint one bit. David Fincher made another film adaptation of a bestseller with a twist so great, it's hard to move on from it and as usual, he paved the way, yet again, for one of his actor to have the peak of their career by casting them in a complex and iconic character. He did it with his past two films The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. Here, it's Rosamund Pike who played Amy Elliott-Dunne, The Amazing Amy.

A testament of a good film adaptation of a mystery [and comedy] thriller like Gone Girl is the nonstop reaction of the crowd during all the twists and turns of the film. Heck even before and after its turning point, which is super amazing by the way, people are so into it. I've read the book that's why it's so amusing whenever people react to Fincher and Flynn's deceptions. They're the same reactions I've got when I read it. I happened to sit beside an adorable old lady whose reactions are hilarious. She's clearly slayed by the film. From her reactions to the douchebaggery of Nick Dunne and how it diverted to being disgusted by Amy's amazing psychopathic deeds. She kept going on and on with her reactions varying from "siraulo" (crazy), to "sakit sa ulo" (headache), to "papatayin ka niyan" (she'll kill you) and a number of "six weeks pregnant" when the idiot pregnant neighbor Noelle revealed that Amy was 6-weeks pregnant. Often times, viewers like this would annoy me but she just added up to the exciting movie experience that is Gone Girl.

Gone Girl doesn't need CGI, it doesn't need to be viewed in 3D or IMAX to be considered an incredible movie experience because for what it is, it IS an incredible movie experience. A super entertaining movie that tickled my fancy especially at the second act of the film where it revealed its tumble-inducing curve, with Amy Dunne throwing pens while driving and ranting about men's standards regarding "cool girls". I'm a little bit jealous that I've read the book prior into watching because I'd love to have the same large reactions of the nonreaders in the movies. Nevertheless, whether you read the bestseller or not, the film pushes you to think, to wonder, to suspect, to believe and to react to whatever the film mis/leads you and it's an exhilarating feeling. It helps a lot that Fincher made this fast-paced, incorporated with the persuasive score of Fincher's resident scorer Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross that effectively adds to the tension of the scenes. 

Ben Affleck is good. Carrie Coon is good. Tyler Perry's alright. Neil Patrick Harris is funky and funny. But Rosamund Pike playing the titular character is truly the star of the film handsdown. She completely owned the film and stole Affleck's thunder despite being barely in the first part of the film. I won't say that Affleck didn't shine though because he did. Let's just say, Rosamund is just simply way more amazing. She epitomized the wickedly twisted, one and only Amy Elliott-Dunne. She made an iconic book character even more iconic with how she portrayed this delusional human being in this film, and Fincher made sure that she will and they're successful in doing it. She's truly perfect for the role and has exceeded my expectations. The divergence of her acting as the cool and elegant girl Amy Dunne to the deglamorized faux dead woman into a merciless femme fatale is not only spectacular, but extremely thrilling. She made it so enjoyable watching a character, who never begged to be loved, but with the variety of layers that she showed, there's no way you would not appreciate her in this film.

She IS the movie for me, along with of course Fincher's direction and Flynn's genius script. A script that didn't follow the conventional happy or sad ending, rather she ended it with a disturbing yet awesome conclusion that would probably haunt you days after seeing it. It's not as cogent as how Flynn ended her book but it's similarly maddening. It's like we're all Nick Dunne and the film is Amy Dunne, and we finally cracked the film's skull, discovering the crumpled and tangled wires that made the whole movie so gripping, wild and interesting.

It had some changes from the book but it kept all the exciting parts. It didn't include some of my favorite themes from the book. For one, Nick's hateship with his father but it doesn't matter in the end because Fincher clearly focused on making the film an entertaining ride rather than making it dramatic and sentimental. Fincher meant to entertain and he did! This is my favorite David Fincher film to date.

Gone Girl will go down as a classic femme fatale movie. A womancentric movie that will become one of the most memorable films of its genre, and Rosamund Pike just put herself a few levels up the film industry. From being a bond girl in Die Another Day, to Keira Knightley's sister in Pride & Prejuice and now the iconic Amy Dunne in Gone Girl. With this portrayal, she will never be forgotten ever again.

Thursday, October 2, 2014


I don't know about you but I am highly enjoying this season. Yes, it doesn't have uber hilarious characters, yes, it doesn't have explosive Tribal Councils but there's something about this cast that's refreshing to me. They're so different compared to the complex and aggressive Cagayan players and they're also different than the first Blood vs Water so I've got no complains even though they're slightly inferior than the past seasons shot in the Philippines.

But I think one main reason why I am enjoying this is the existence of Baylor. I firmly believe that when you're enthusiastic with a player, whether you hate or love that player, that a season is going to be an enjoyable ride because you have someone to watch for. Unless that player gets voted out early. This season, it's Baylor. It's an unpopular opinion because she's massively hated by many in Survivor forums but there's something about her that's engaging. She, truly is the polarizing character this season, not John Rocker.

During the first episode, she flipped right off the first Tribal Council. Then, this episode, her wrestling duel with her mom is probably my favorite part of the episode wherein her puppy dog eyes manipulated her mother Missy to lose her energy, resulting to a point for Coyopa. That shows character for me. Then at Tribal, Val and Jaclyn threw her under the bus and in the end, she's still safe and kicking. Oh boy, she's going to be fun to watch especially if she goes far, and I truly hope that she goes far because she's the main fuel that keeps me from liking this season.

But I'm picking Josh as the recipient of this week's Plummy -- by solidifying his alliance with Baylor, maintaining his middle position in Coyopa, seeing John Rocker as an asset to his game, and keeping both Baylor and Rocker at the end of their Tribal. He's playing a great game so far and no one's even close.

On to the ranking:

17. Val

Val is likable on paper but what she did was idiotic. Lying about having two idols, that's ludacris/abimaria. Funny thing is that Rocker believed him but it didn't matter because she's leaving anyway and she doesn't have an idol to save her life. If only she told the truth to Rocker, she might have been saved. But the Oscar winning moment that she's referring to is a faux. I won't miss Val at all.

16. Wes

Kudos to winning the challenge against Jeremy. That's really unexpected.

15. Alec

No substance despite being in the losing team. He's clearly not running the show and it might be too early to say, but with his invisible edit this episode, he might not be the winner of SJDS.

14. Keith

From no. 1 to no. 14. Unfortunately, there's not enough Keith this episode so I can't really put him higher in this ranking.

13. Dale

I thought it's adorable for Dale to watch out for Kelley, her daughter but other than that, he's not a hero nor a villain this episode. Plain edit.

12. Reed

He's finally having airtime and he's the one who talked to Jeff about the Hunahpu flint situation. But we still haven't heard anything from Reed regarding the game so I have no clue where his head's at.

11. John

John is already starting to show his true colors. But in the meantime, I'm actually enjoying him. His two losses this episode, one with Julie and one with Jon, are amazing. If he continues to be edited as a loser then I won't mind seeing him go far even with his nasty comments. LOL at believing Val's lie too. WTF

10. Jon

Major kudos to Jon for admitting that he lost the flint. That shows a lot about his sportmanship and athleticism. But way more kudos for defeating John in the wrestling challenge. But other than that, I thought his scene with Drew was ridiculous. He's still likable, though.

9. Jeremy

Again, we're seeing some strategy talks from Jeremy. His side deal with Rocker was great. But now that Rocker failed to protect Val, I'm afraid Jeremy will avenge his wife. Unfortunately, Julie will pay the price. Too bad because I like both.

8. Drew

Drew continues to have a negative edit but despite the negativity, he's also hilarious. His side comments, smirks and douchey smiles are all glorious to watch. I'm not even annoyed even though I think he's a joke.

7. Kelley

Kelley got a decent edit and from what I saw of her, I like. She's proven that she's strong, and likable too. I'm still curious on what other things she can do though. I really hope Hunahpu loses next episode.

6. Josh

Josh is the man. He's playing the game as if he's the original fan of Survivor, not Reed. He's on a different league compared to his Coyopa tribemates and he's very stealth about it. He's going to go far. He might win this.

5. Jaclyn

I thought Jaclyn was going to be a dud throughout the season. I thought she's going to get voted out without anything of substance or importance. But she's proven that she's not weak, both physically and I guess mentally. She's not a sheep as she's feisty. Love it when she defeated Kelley in the first round of the wrestling challenge. Love her even more when she showed her sassy side at Tribal. I hope she goes far.

4. Julie

Julie is an angel. I really thought that she's going to be a bitch and if not a bitch, snarky and smug and arrogant. But she has already proven after two episodes that she doesn't complain and is actually willing to play. Love her social interactions. And yay at defeating John Rocker. That's a huge accomplishment.

3. Natalie

Natalie is love. Her reaction out of Nadiya leaving was touching (and the background music helped a lot). She showed a softer side of her and it's just heart melting. Now that she's moved on, I hope she's stronger and sassier. Love her side comments about Drew, and I think I'll love her even more next week when she fights against John Rocker.

2. Missy

Wow Missy. I love you. What an angel. First, her comforting Natalie was a true act of kindness. Second, I felt her when she couldn't fight her daughter after accidentally hurting her. She's a kind soul and I hope she goes far. I hope we see more of her strategic skills too. Because she obviously has the social game turned on.

1. Baylor

This young woman is going to be fun to watch. After two episodes, she's already flipped, had a fight, cried, confronted, made allies, etc. And that's what I love most about her. She's playing and she's not resting. She's moving and there's danger surrounding her but she keeps on surviving. It's fun to root for a player whose always on the chopping block yet always finds her way to be safe and I hope that would be the case for Baylor for a long time in this game even if she doesn't win, as long as she keep on surviving and annoying the shit out of her competitors. Go Baylor!

1. Josh
2. Jeremy
3. Baylor
4. Natalie

Next episode, John Rocker unleashes his true colors, but he has the idol so I don't think he'll get voted out. He's shown that he's not that smart though so we'll see.

Follow me on Twitter: @jaynormouskid

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Homesman

Director: Tommy Lee Jones
With: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones, Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, Hailee Steinfeld, William Fichtner, Meryl Streep

Set during the American frontier, a religious woman Mary Bee Cuddie made a deal with a claim jumper on the brink of his death, to help her transport three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa.

Hilary Swank hasn't been in the awards circuit ever since what? 2010 for Conviction? And that was a surprising SAG nod for that matter. This year, there might be an improvement or should I say a comeback, in her career as her work in The Homesman as Mary Bee Cuddie is terrific, portraying a bossy and independent woman whose longingness for love and settlement is one of a kind. She brought epicness to this character that despite being unappealing and a little comical, she shifted the audience's gear from detached to sympathetic. Tommy Lee Jones' George Briggs is similarly endearing. Both characters are not the most congenial character you'll see, but it's impossible not to be touched by them at the end of the movie.

It's not only their character that's compelling, but it's their relationship that struck me the most. We've seen contrasting characters before that end up being nice together but this one's pretty different as the Western era factors in their condition and relationship. Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto and Sonja Richter played the 'three insane women' and despite not having dialogues, they effectively depicted their roles with such poignancy.

Feminism is a huge theme in The Homesman. The characters of Mary Bee, the three insane women, and Tabitha played by Hailee Steinfeld each showed the differences of women during the Western era. Mary Bee could not find a husband, the three crazy women became insane because of the wrongdoings of the men in their lives, and Tabitha showed how she values herself in choosing her husband. Tommy Lee Jones also showcased Briggs' personality and his relationship with Cuddie as an instrument to define how men treated women during their era, and how women should behave in order to find a man. It's a very obvious theme but the story is what matters to me because it's strikingly touching. And rarely do Western dramas interest me which leads me to ponder that I probably have seen 5 Western themed films maximum.

What I adore more about The Homesman is its cinematography and score. Marco Beltrami provided a very pleasant score for Cuddie and George's journey, that it's so far my favorite score of the year. He's on a roll as I also like his score for Snowpiercer and The Giver. I think The Homesman's only fault is its inconsistency in tone, but it's pretty much easy to ignore because it's really beautiful and affecting.

As one of the films I anticipated early this year, The Homesman didn't disappoint. For a Western Drama, it's certainly likable but it's seldom for me to love films from a foreign period or era, so I'm not really wow'd by the film. The story however, added with Swank and Tommy Lee Jones's craft, made this film good, shocking and sentimental overall.


Image from CBS | Survivor San Juan del Sur Cast
Survivor is back and I couldn't get any happier! For the first time in 14 years and 29 seasons, I watched it with true Survivor avid fans and man, it was super awesome. We laughed at the random scenes, we guessed who's going to get voted out or who's gonna win, we read past Survivor tweets, we reacted in every possible way. I think the worst part is that we're so noisy while watching that there are scenes that we couldn't hear or watch what's going on. But it's all good! Point is, there's nothing better than watching Survivor with friends who know the show by heart. It sucks we weren't able to take a video of our reaction during Tribal Council because it was pretty bonkers as you know. Nadiya, one of the Twinnies, one of the players I pegged to go far, is the first player voted out of Survivor San Juan del Sur!

Nadiya, who almost everyone expected to see go far. Good thing is I predicted Natalie to go further than her. Well okay, I gotta come clean here. I read a fake spoiler that the Twinnies are going to reach the merge and I fell for it. It reminds me of when Danielle was voted out in HvV because there was also a rumor or a spoiler that she's going to be in the end. But oh well, it served me right and it got me good. I was flabbergasted when one of the Twinnies got voted out.

If you check my Survivor SJDS Cast Assessment, I pretty much butchered the premiere...NOT. I sucked! -- predicting Alec to be the Jason and Drew being the Malcolm when it looks like it's the other way around, Val to be the first boot because of her weakness and not being able to fit in with her tribe and it turns out it's actually the opposite and she was able to fit in well, started an alliance even, Dale being a dud and look what happened, he's actually one of the stars of the episode. I really did suck but I like it when I do because it means that Survivor is unpredictable. Or no, I really just suck and there are no excuses.

Anyway, the Survivor Premiere is pretty much...average. Average not because it comes after a terrific season in Survivor Cagayan, I thought that reasoning is getting old and lame, but it's average because there's really nothing interesting, or hilarious, or groundbreaking or outstanding that happened. Survivor nowadays is about jawdropping moments and Survivor SJDS' Premiere did not deliver that. But with this cast, I must say that it exceeded my expectations. It reminds me of a random sports team who doesn't have a lot of fans but when they play, they still tried to fight and it turned out that they're actually rootable. Yes, I think this season is rootable and I'm actually interested on how this season will play out. I got no clue what's going to happen, I can't read the players' psyche, the editing is balanced, and these players seem like the kind who will surprise you just because you don't expect anything from them. Should be good.

Anyway, I'll continue giving Plummies this season! And this time, I won't necessarily give it to my favorite so they won't be at my top spot. I have my Power Ranking for that which I'll publish in my social media too. Stay tuned for that!

So original right? First Plummy, a ripoff of Stephen Fishbach's Fishy, next Power Rankings, pretty much the same thing as Gordon Holmes' Power Ranking at, except way more humorous and awesome. :3

There is no doubt in my mind that Dale wins this Premiere's Plummy. He exceeded every expectations I got from him. He was never boring. He channeled Lisa Whelchel by being the odd man out, but he made fire for his tribe using his ultraelectrolaser double lenses, he claimed a random necklace on their water well which we're still uncertain if it's a Hidden Immunity Idol, he targeted Nadiya using a ridiculous reason and even if it's ridiculous, it's necessary because he would have gone home instead if he didn't go aggressive and mention any player's name for a target and lastly, he smiled like a true villain when Nadiya finally got voted out. He's go every reason to win this Plummy and no one came close. 

Here's my SJDS Premiere ranking:

18. Jaclyn
She's so beautiful but my goodness she's also invisible. Please don't be a Jefra.

17. Reed
Looks like I was wrong about him. Wrong in the sense that I thought he's going to receive more airtime than his boyfriend Josh. But it's just the first episode and Coyopa lost the Immunity so Josh had more time to shine. We'll see what Reed has to offer when his tribe goes to Tribal Council.

16. Nadiya
I like the Twinnies because they're feisty and energetic. We need that with this kind of cast. But c'mon, she kind of dug her own grave in her short stay on the island by not being extra sensitive about others. Still, I'm bummed that she's the first player voted off especially when the main reason is her reputation in The Amazing Race 'coz Survivor is a different game and I think she's got more to offer and wouldn't it be awesome to see Natalie and Nadiya duke it out in a wrestling match? We, the audience, loses here.

15. Wes
Wes doesn't annoy me anymore. I think he's actually pretty likable, chill and soft.  It's just that the other players remain more likable than him.

14. John
John is alright this episode. For some reason, his interaction with Val felt like it's a little forced. We can all see that he's trying his best to seem tolerable but you just know, that once the agitation kicks in that he's going to be madness. The promos already prove that.

13. Kelley
I like Kelly, I think she's going to be strong and she already has an alliance in Hunahpu. But she's also so invisible that I can't support her any further.

12. Missy
Same with Missy. She's in the same alliance in Hunahpu, and she got the divorce quote, which could be a winner's quote but she's still not a boss bitch I'm pegging her to be. We'll see.

11. Val
Val is a pleasant surprise. I was sure that she's going to be the first player voted off but despite the circumstances of being at Exile Island and missing the get-to-know-your-tribemate phase in the game, she was able to fit in, she didn't share the clue to Keith, she started a women's alliance and all of those signs that she's capable of playing the game. I still think that she's not going to win though.

10. Drew
The resident douche prince this season. Ha! He's my winner pick and don't get me wrong, I still think that he has a chance to win even with the negative edit that he got. But I believe Alec has more chances now than Drew.

9. Natalie
The only reason Natalie is this high is because I'm a fan of the Twinnies and I think she's going to play better now, now that her Twin is gone. But based on this episode solely, she's got more chickens to fry.

8. Alec
Alec is this cool quiet guy that everyone will probably love. He fits in with the boys, and with the youngings. I don't see him bonding with the older players though so we'll see but for now he's doing great and I think he has a chance to win. Fan of the show and he's got the eye on the prize as according to him, winning the title of Sole Survivor is much better than winning the money. Totally agree!

7. Julie
Julie is another pleasant surprise. I expected her to be primadonna but she seems very on the go. From challenges, to working at camp, she's there doing her best. It doesn't hurt that she looks stunning on the island. I thought she's going to get ugly without make up but she got more beautiful when she's deglamorized.

6. Jeremy
Jeremy is fun fun fun. I don't know about making a deal with numerous players is good but one thing Tony Vlachos taught me from last season is that being aggressive actually puts you on top and making deals with most of your tribemates doesn't always mean it's negative. Tony Vlachos won and I can see Jeremy following his lead. Not to mention, he's also more likable than Tony. I just don't know if Jeremy can play the game more strategically.

5. Dale
Dale is not a favorite but he impressed me so much it's unfair to put him lower than this spot. He did everything he could to survive the first Tribal Council even if the odds are not on his favor but he was able to turn the game around and proved that he could be a power player. Can he win? I'm not sure. Can he go further than the merge? It's likelier now.

4. Josh
He's so jolly and happy to be on Survivor. So cheerful but when it came to strategizing, he also proved that he's serious in the game especially he's put on a tough spot being the swing vote. It's great to be on that spot probably come merge time but first Tribal Council, I'm not so sure. I'm also not sure if he did the right thing, we'll find out once they go to Tribal Council again but this premiere, he sticked to his guns and provided a good headscratcher at Tribal when he voted Baylor. I'm excited to see Josh deliver.

3. Jon
Jon is unexpectedly so likable. I thought he's going to be boring and invisible but he's got moments of fun and lightheartedness in all of her scenes in the premiere. His sarcastic comment about their utensils, his weird liking for monkeys, his talk about his father, and his Exorcist performance in the Immunity Challenge. I'm scared he's going to quit though for his father ala Jenna Morasca in All Stars. If he doesn't, then I think he has a huge chance to win.

2. Baylor
I thought for sure Baylor is going to be invisible but she's one of the few players who got more than 3 confessionals. Some about commentaries, one narration and one for strategy. It's crazy because she's not the more visible player outside confessionals but the editors still choose to give her time to say her insights. I think she's going to go far and I think she's going to be edited as a ruthless player too.

1. Keith
Keith is fun, fun, fun and he's currently my favorite this premiere. His dry humor is amazing. He's like the father you never had. I love him mainly because of his personality but game wise, I'm pretty sure that he's going to leave early. Too bad, I actually like the guy but I think he's too nice and chill for the game that those won't help him go far in the game. Sigh.

1. Alec
2. Jeremy
3. Baylor
4. Josh
5. Jon

Next week, I can't wait to see Natalie's reaction about Nadiya being the first player voted off. Then we'll have the wrestling match, then we'll probably have John Rocker's volcano eruption. Follow me on Twitter: @jaynormouskid