Sunday, February 8

The Film Fatales' Oscar Picks: 2015


The Film Fatales nod off at the 2015 Oscars...

It's...yawn...Oscar time...yawn. Welcome to the most boring and tedious yet of award seasons. With a decidedly lackluster cast of nominees, this is bound to be the longest ceremony in history. The sheer lack of diversity is probably what pisses us off the most, but we won't turn this into a grandstand (or maybe we will). In any case, here are our picks for the 2015 Academy Awards. With very few exceptions to mention, let's hope 2016 offers us much better options.

Best Actor

    Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
    Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
    Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
    Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
    Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"

Nicole:
  • Who should win? David Oyelowo -- Oh, I'm sorry...he wasn't nominated by a clearly color-blind Academy. Yea, I said it... and I'd say it again. Of the available choices, Benedict Cumberbatch or Eddie Redmayne should, but won't, win.
  • Who will win? Michael Keaton.

elizabeth:  
  • Who should win? There is only one choice if you ask me and you just did. It’s Eddie Redmayne’s performance from The Theory of Everything. His performance is right up there with Daniel Day Lewis’ role in the 1989 film My Left Foot. Actors (and actresses for that matter) who can convey so much with a simple eye movement or a small smile rule in my book. I am just glad that I was around to see both performances.
  • Who will win? You really want to ask me again?

Best Actress

    Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night"
    Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
    Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"
    Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
    Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"

Nicole:
  • Who will win and who should win? Julianne Moore. Enough with Reese already. Yawn.

elizabeth:
 
You are right this is boring. Not with the performances, but who should be winning...
  • Who will win? That would be Julianne Moore. I plan on not seeing that movie even though the book was so compelling. And what has Reese Witherspoon ever done to you?

Best Supporting Actor

    Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
    Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
    Edward Norton, "Birdman"
    Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
    J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"

Nicole:


God, this is possibly the most boring Oscars ever.
⦁    Who should win? Ed Norton or Mark Ruffalo.
⦁    Who will win? It's between Simmons and Hawke.

elizabeth: 
  • Who should win? Who cares? Okay, I can’t give it to Mark Ruffalo because I like him in hot roles like Begin Again, which was just a great movie. 
  • Who will win? J.K. Simmons to take the Oscar because I find him very believable in his Farmers’ Insurance commercials.

Best Supporting Actress

    Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
    Laura Dern, "Wild"
    Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
    Emma Stone, "Birdman"
    Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods"

Nicole:
  • Who should win? No one. This is a crapshoot. Look, I love Meryl, but she doesn't deserve it for Into the Woods. And, frankly, I don't care if Arquette was terrific in Boyhood -- she's one-dimensional and her performances are generally as exciting as watching paint dry. Dern -- meh. Knightley should have been nominated for Begin Again instead, but the Academy doesn't nominate feel-good films. And, Emma... well. Not for this, but soon and often.
  • Who will win? Arquette.

elizabeth:  

And the Oscar for being so crabby goes to.....you. 
  • Who will and should win? I agree about Keira Knightley in Begin Again, so I would vote for her since she covered two roles in 2014 that were quite different and she gave terrific performances in both.

Directing

    Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
    Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
    Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
    Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
    Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"

Nicole:
  • Who should win? Wes Anderson. Because he's quirky and shit.
  • Who will win? Inarritu...because he out-quirkied the King of Quirky, Wes Anderson. Oh, and the Academy loves daring and experimental shit, like 15-minute long takes.

elizabeth:

Just give it to all of them. Why not make everyone happy?


Best Picture

    "American Sniper"
    "Birdman"
    "Boyhood"
    "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
    "The Imitation Game"
    "Selma"
    "The Theory of Everything"
    "Whiplash"

Nicole:
  • What should win? SELMA!!! Dammit. Selma should win. Good God, is this thing on? 
  • What will win? It's gonna be Birdman, isn't it? I may not even watch this Oscar ceremony. Honestly.

elizabeth: 
  • What should win? The Theory of Everything. Selma was fabulous, but playing with history does not sit well with me. It could have been as compelling with showing that LBJ was on board with the Voting Rights Act. Young people should know that.


The 87th Academy Awards will be held on 
Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 7pm ET / 4pm PT on ABC. 

Play along at home with this printable ballot
or sound off in the comments section with your own picks. 


 

Tuesday, February 3

Film Fatales Picks for the 2015 BAFTAs

The Film Fatales skip across the pond to attend the top in British film award ceremonies, the EE British Academy Film Awards -- better known at the BAFTAs. It's a far classier award show than the Oscars, which probably means these two broads probably won't get by security. So, we'll probably just be watching stateside along with everyone else on BBC America Sunday, Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. EST.





DIRECTOR
  • Alejandro G. IñáRritu Birdman  | Nicole's Pick
  • Wes Anderson The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • James Marsh The Theory Of Everything
  • Richard Linklater Boyhood | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Damien Chazelle Whiplash

RISING STAR
  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw | Nicole's Pick
  • Jack O’Connell
  • Shailene Woodley | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Margot Robbie
  • Miles Teller

FILM
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson
  • The Theory Of Everything Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony Mccarten | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Birdman Alejandro G. IñáRritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole | Nicole's Pick
  • The Imitation Game Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman
  • Boyhood Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland

LEADING ACTOR
  • Eddie Redmayne The Theory Of Everything  | Nicole's Pick & Elizabeth's Pick 
  • Ralph Fiennes The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Benedict Cumberbatch The Imitation Game
  • Jake Gyllenhaal Nightcrawler
  • Michael Keaton Birdman

LEADING ACTRESS
  • Felicity Jones The Theory Of Everything | Nicole's Pick
  • Julianne Moore Still Alice | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Reese Witherspoon Wild
  • Amy Adams Big Eyes
  • Rosamund Pike Gone Girl

SUPPORTING ACTOR
  • J.K. Simmons Whiplash | Elizabeth's Pick 
  • Mark Ruffalo Foxcatcher
  • Steve Carell Foxcatcher
  • Edward Norton Birdman
  • Ethan Hawke Boyhood  | Nicole's Pick

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
  • Keira Knightley The Imitation Game  | Nicole's Pick
  • Imelda Staunton Pride
  • Emma Stone Birdman
  • Patricia Arquette Boyhood | Elizabeth's Pick
  • Rene Russo Nightcrawler

SELMA

The Film Fatales wonder why, nearly fifty years later, the more things change, the more things stay the same...

Selma. 2014. Rated PG-13. 128 Minutes. Starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Common, Giovanni Ribisi, Oprah Winfrey, Niecy Nash, Lorraine Toussaint. Directed by Ava DuVernay.


Oscar Best Picture Nominee
A chronicle of Martin Luther King's campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. [IMDb]

 



Nicole: 1965. 2015. With recent events in Ferguson and Staten Island...one could say not all that much has changed in fifty years time. But, I must be careful in painting this picture with such a broad brush. For, in doing so, I dilute Dr. King's message...his hard work...his legacy. Still, I wonder what he would make of today's headlines after so many years of progress: one step forward, two steps back. 



elizabeth:  I think this country’s collective soul has to rise each day and ask how can they make the lives of all the people who live here better. I think that was the essence of Dr. King. Knock us down. We shall rise again. I think what resonated most with me is that we lost Martin Luther King decades too soon. Like an artist, he was not done with his masterpiece. If you were brought up with a B&W TV, you saw what was going on in this country in the South. You saw men and women being beaten and hosed, you saw the body of a young boy who whistled at a pretty girl and you heard the cries of the families whose little girls went to church but never came home. It was a very scary time in this country, but we had the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. leading us out of the darkness.


Nicole: Selma begins with MLK receiving the Nobel Peace Prize juxtaposed with the horrific church bombing that took the lives of several black children. MLK may have won the prize for peace, but came home to an America that was anything but peaceful. Selma depicts King's efforts to make change in the blockage of black voter registration in a small Alabama town. A series of small civil disobedience measures lead to an eventually successful march from Selma to Montgomery, the seat of hate manger George Wallace's governance. It is a chilling retelling of one of the most important civil rights movements in American history. 




elizabeth: Two things haunted me while I watched Selma. The first thing was that I was ashamed to be white. I know I didn’t do anything to the people of Selma, but my race was so repugnant in their behavior to people who just wanted to live their lives and raise their families. I was ashamed. The second thing was the creative telling of the relationship between King and LBJ. I know it made for more tension (like living in Selma and surroundings areas weren’t stressful enough), but Lyndon Johnson was on board for the Voting Rights Act and he worked to see it pass. An opportunity was lost to show two powerful men; one black, one white, coming together to foster change. I love the idea that corporations are paying for kids to see this very important movie, but they will grow up believing a Hollywood distortion.


Nicole: Personally, I'm no fan of President Johnson. He deserves credit for passing the Voting Rights Act (which they reference in the film) and for making an impassioned speech that helped progress the Civil Rights Movement, but he was a horrible and notorious bigot who played politics to his own advantage. He was no Kennedy; that's for sure. Regarding the performances, Oyelowo is remarkable as Dr. King. Not a trace of his English accent can be detected. His cadence and delivery is so very like King's, it's a wonder he didn't snag an Oscar nomination...a tremendous oversight on the part of the Academy. So, too is Ejogo's performance as Coretta Scott King captivating. At times, her likeness was so uncanny, it was jarring. Hers was a tempered, quiet, yet strong portrayal that deserved recognition. I'm really perplexed by the decisions made this year. 




elizabeth: Who cares who gets nominated for an Oscar? Okay, I do. But, we make it seem that a performance is diminished because of a bunch of old white men who voted for the nominations. Let’s just be glad that Oyelowo and Ejogo brought the Kings to life on the screen. I want to thank David Oyelowo for bringing Dr. King to all who see this movie. I want kids to want to be like this man of quiet courage. I want them to work for peace and equality. Screw the Oscars.


Nicole: This movie is required viewing... As a people, we seem doomed to repeat history. Perhaps the more we educate ourselves, the less complacent we will become...and just maybe refuse to make the same mistakes. 


elizabeth: Maybe if we stop killing the peacemakers we can talk about real change.





                                                       The Film Fatales give SELMA

Sunday, January 18

The Imitation Game

The Film Fatales watch Cumberbatch CumberCrack code. 

The Imitation Game. 2014. 114 Minutes. Rated R. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kiera Knightley, Mark Strong, and Matthew Goode. Directed by Morten Tyldum.
 

Nominated for 8 Oscars, including Best Actor and Best Film.
 

During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. [IMDb]






Nicole: Life is sometimes not fair. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Life is "often" not fair. And so it can be said of Alan Turing's life. That name should resonate as one of the most important names in modern history; unfortunately, it doesn't. But perhaps all that is changing, what with celebrated biographies; not one, but two recent films; and a posthumous pardoning by Queen Elizabeth in 2013, it's been brought to the forefront just how brilliant a mathematician Turing was and how very much  our society owes him on so many levels. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
 

elizabeth:  I have to say that I did not know anything about Alan Turing and his life because of one word: Math. But once I started to read more about his life and the absolutely horrific behavior of others upon him, it got my attention and I wanted to see this movie. (Plus, Nicole was bugging me to go see her boyfriend play the role of Alan Turning.)


Nicole: Well, don't I have to sit through your boyfriend, Robert Redford's, movies? It's only fair. The Imitation Game centers primarily on the era of Alan Turing's life during which he built the machine that would eventually break the Nazi enigma code, thus ending WWII approximately two years earlier than anticipated. His genius was such that his magnificent invention and the execution of it remained top secret until fifty years after the war. And, so, Turing lived in relative obscurity for the remainder of his life until some nosy detective unwittingly uncovered details about Turing's private life. It may shock some of you to know that not very long ago people in the UK and other Western countries were put in prison or sentenced to mandatory chemical castration for acts of homosexuality, but that, in fact, is a very sad truth about our collective Western history. Such was Turing's fate. As a thank you for his service to his country, and the entire world ... not to mention developing what would become the computer... he was subjected to insane amounts of estrogen injections. He tolerated two years of this horrible sentence before he committed suicide. That's not a spoiler, btw. It's history.
 

elizabeth: It is very hard to write my review of this movie without getting a tad political. WTH? I think more people than not knew about the castration and the injections; people just didn’t care and as Dickens put it (more or less) it decreased the surplus population. No matter how brilliant this man was, they could not get over his personal choices. Like it was their business. Okay, back to the movie. Director Morten Tyldum put together an amazing cast of actors who brought you back in time to WWII. I think Kiera Knightley is in it for the long run and I, for one, can’t wait to see how she develops as an actress. Benedict Cumberbatch blew me away with his turn on Turing. His eyes spoke volumes and the pain he felt from feeling on the outside and the fear of being “found out” made me exhausted from knowing how this movie was going to turn out. The injustice of it all felt like a strong slap across my face.


Nicole: I could not agree more. Turing is brilliantly portrayed by the incredible Cumberbatch, who could sit on a folding chair on a blank set, read the phone book out loud...and audiences would be riveted. He is, by far, one of this generation's most talented actors. And, therefore, justly deserves all the accolades he's receiving for this role. (The Oscar will likely go to Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of another brilliant scientist, Stephen Hawking, in The Theory of Everything. But, mark my words...Cumberbatch's day will come.) If Turing could see this performance, and I'd like to think he can, he would greatly approve. And, I hope, it's some small recompense for the dishonor we treated him to while he lived.

elizabeth: I don’t think Benedict Cumberbatch has to worry about his day coming. It has. A statue of Oscar will not make his work better. It is already almost too good. And I applaud the man, Cumberbatch, who felt that the life of Alan Turning needed to be told and that he would talk to anyone about Turing so that praise and recognition will come to the man who made it possible for us to write our reviews on a computer.


Nicole: Lastly, I will say it was nice to sit beside Cassidy and share some tears as the credits rolled. It reminded me that she sometimes does have a human heart, despite all previous claims. (Cue sassy comeback in one...two...)
 

elizabeth: Yes, I do have a human heart. It is in the refrigerator.  

The Film Fatales give THE IMITATION GAME


Saturday, January 10

The Film Fatales Picks for Golden Globes 2015

The Film Fatales Up the Ante and Bet it All on Gold

It's the first major awards show to usher in Awards season...and it sets the precedent for the Oscars. So, what do this year's Golden Globes have in store? The Film Fatales offer you their best guess as to who will take home the gold.
 






 
Best Motion Picture – Drama
 
“Boyhood”
“Foxcatcher”
“The Imitation Game”  Nicole
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything” elizabeth

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama

Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” elizabeth
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild” Nicole

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game” Nicole
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything” elizabeth

Best Picture — Comedy or Musical

“Birdman” Nicole, move over... --elizabeth
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Into the Woods”
“Pride”
“St. Vincent”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical

Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”
Emily Blunt, “Into the Woods”
Helen Mirren, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” Nicole. This is annoying. --elizabeth
Julianne Moore, “Maps to the Stars”
Quvenzhané Wallis, “Annie”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical

Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman” Nicole
Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice” elizabeth
Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” elizabeth
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman” Nicole
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman” elizabeth
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher” Nicole
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Director — Motion Picture

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma” Nicole
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” elizabeth

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
 
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” by Wes Anderson Nicole. Three times' a charm. --elizabeth
“Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn
“Birdman,” by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo
“Boyhood,” by Richard Linklater
“The Imitation Game,” by Graham Moore

Wednesday, January 7

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

The Film Fatales consider that there is indeed a theory of everything.
 

The Theory of Everything. 2014. PG-13. 123 minutes. Starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Directed by James Marsh.

Nominated for four Golden Globes, including: Best Motion Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress.
A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. [IMDb]

Nicole: In our daily lives, we tend to toss around the word "genius" with frequency...so often, in fact, it tends to lose its true value and meaning. So few people truly deserve the moniker "genius." Stephen Hawking, however, is one who lives up to the definition. That's why I was anxious that's why I was anxious to see The Theory of Everything, as it offers us a glimpse into the private world and mind of a brilliant man.

elizabeth: To me, it sounded like a movie that went beyond equations and science and all that stuff that I will never ever understand even if Hawking was to spell it out to me. What got my attention was the love story between a man and a woman who were about to be dealt such devastating news and yet they were not deterred by it. They built a life together. A great message for all who cower in the corner because their computer is running slow.


Nicole: Eddie Redmayne literally becomes Hawking. And, the transformation is mesmerizing, if difficult to watch. It's a truly remarkable performance, both physically and artistically. And, Felicity Jones, as Jane, is also strong -- though in a completely different way. The two actors are well matched for the journey they must portray and they do so deftly and with elegance.

eizabeth: They were a modern day Tracy and Hepburn. Eddie Redmayne’s performance was flawless. You felt the subtle changes in his body and his eyes brought to life the soul of Stephen Hawking. It was just flawless.  Who needs words when an actor can show every motion with just a look or a small smile? Jane’s role played by Felicity Jones was awe inspiring. I am so glad the director let her make Jane as the strong and protective wife of Stephen – she was a force to contend with.  Jane handed Stephen his life back and the two did an amazing job in the years that they were married. I was all teary eyed and I am a tad surprised that Nicole did not announce that. I think she called me a “big baby.” Am not. 


Nicole: I did. I did indeed say it. It was payback for every time you said it to me -- especially during The Fault in Our Stars (still not over that movie, btw.) I wish only that this film contained a bit more science, but I can forgive the lack thereof for the sake of telling Hawking's little-known early life. Through this movie, he becomes a person -- instead of the icon we  revere with such esteem. We see him as he becomes the man we know today -- the man who exceeded everyone's expectations on so many levels.

elizabeth: I would have zoned out if they did any more science in the movie. I think what they had was just enough to hold the viewer’s attention.  I knew I was watching brilliant scientists, but I loved the story of the human beings so much more. I agree that Stephen Hawking is a man who loves and feels and did not give into his limitations. He rose above them all. Well done. 

The Film Fatales give THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

Monday, January 5

THE INTERVIEW

The Film Fatales take part in one of the worst interviews of their lives.

The Interview. 2014. Rated R. 112 very long minutes. Starring Seth Rogan and James Franco. Directed by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogan (because this masterpiece took not one, but two, people to direct).


Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight." When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission. [IMDb]



Nicole: Cassidy, I want to get this out of the way and apologize profusely for suggesting we see this movie. I figured with all of the press it's been getting, it would be a good film for us to comment on. After having watched it, I'd rather forget all about it and make believe it never happened, but...here we are. Obligated to share our thoughts. I think I'll let you go first.

elizabeth: Truth be told, I did not sit through this POS to the end. As a woman, I was so insulted and I kept thinking while my disgust over the dialogue grew and grew and boiled over – could this be the movie that would cause us to be attacked again? Were people going to go to the movies and not come home? I get that there was major media hype going on over that knucklehead leader of North Korea and this movie’s theme, but when you live around 30 miles from where the Twin Towers went down, you might be a little hyper sensitive. What the hell were the writers thinking? My only hope is that their mothers will wash their brains out with soap.


Nicole: Unless everyone's been living under a rock, they know this is the movie North Korea got their pants all in a twist over. Why? Because the plot involves the CIA convincing an entertainment TV personality and his producer to "take out" Kim Jong Un during a live interview. Having sat through this crapfest, it astounds me that North Korea seriously thinks Seth Rogan and James Franco are legitimately threatening their leader's safety. Those two are too stoned half of the time to leave their apartments, never mind start a coup. What all this hoopla did accomplish was to turn a movie that probably would have only seen middling success into a successful box office venture.

elizabeth: Being a leader of a country does not mean you're a Rhodes Scholar. Look at our country’s choices. But none of them were mad men like Kim Jong Un. I think. Even if they changed the name of the leader and country, this is still one of the worse movies I have ever not watched to the end. So now I can say that I saw a movie for young boys whose testicles have not dropped yet.


Nicole: Look, I'm not averse to a crude joke or potty humor. I enjoy sophomoric humor on occasion. What I am averse to is a script that relies so heavily on crude humor and potty jokes because it's easy. Franco and Rogan need to go back to the school of Apatow and audit a few more classes before they make another movie. But, considering how much publicity this film has garnered, I'm sure we will be seeing another of their collaborations sooner than you can say "poop."

elizabeth: Oh crap. Say it ain’t so. 

The Film Fatales give THE INTERVIEW

Sunday, December 14

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

The Film Fatales visit Middle-Earth one last time...

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. 2014. 144 minutes. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Orlando Bloom, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Evangeline Lily, Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Manu Bennett, Aidan Turner, Dean O'Gorman. Directed by Peter Jackson.

Bilbo and Company are forced to engage in a war against an array of combatants and keep the terrifying Smaug from acquiring a kingdom of treasure and obliterating all of Middle-Earth. [IMDb]



Nicole: Well, it is true that all journeys must come to an end...and so must it be with the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy. Peter Jackson's epic trek through J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth has taken 17 years to complete (yes, you read that right), and thanks to his vision and dedication fans and film buffs now have six movies that stand together as the ultimate love letter to Tolkien geeks and devotees everywhere.  This self-described geek was lucky enough to attend an advance screening in NYC of The Battle of the Five Armies thanks to the LA Times HeroComplex event planners. The screening included a post-film Q&A with stars Richard Armitage and Lee Pace, who graciously and kindly answered interviewer and fan questions.

elizabeth:  I felt my heart just break ever so …who am I kidding? So the tale of the little men with big ears is over? Why don’t you all go out and visit a mall?

Thranduil and Bard make their bargain with the King Under the Mountain...to no avail.

Nicole: Ignoring you. I'm still trying to assess what I feel about this last film in the series, so I will try my best to express my thoughts without revealing too many spoilers. The film picks up right where The Desolation of Smaug left off, with Smaug wreaking havoc on Lake-town and the Erebor dwarves searching for the Arkenstone. Their leader, Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), has succumbed to the dragon sickness, which spurns his blood lust for wealth, greed and hatred. Galadriel (Cate Blanchett), Elrond (Hugo Weaving) and Saruman (Christopher Lee) defend Gandalf (Ian McKellan) against the Necromancer (aka Sauron) at Dol Guldur. The Mirkwood elves, led by Thrandruil (Lee Pace), learn of the dwarves' success in taking back the Lonely Mountain and arrive in Erebor to reclaim the treasure that was taken from them generations prior. And, let's not forget, that an army of vicious Orcs, led by Azog (Manu Bennett) are preparing to end the line of Durin and take over Middle-Earth. Still with me? Elizabeth! Wake up!!!

elizabeth: I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow. I have all the symptoms of that dragon sickness. Damnit, I just lost another scale.

Thorin Oakenshield asks his company of dwarves to follow him #onelasttime.

Nicole: I knew you had something; I just couldn't put my finger on it. While the name of the movie is The Hobbit, this installment very much belongs to one character: Thorin Oakenshield (played to perfection by Armitage -- if Viggo Mortensen managed to snag an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, I see no reason why Armitage shouldn't receive the same accolades. His performance was equally strong, and even more wrought with emotion). Martin Freeman's Bilbo, however, still does steal many a scene with his display of loyalty and bravery -- not to mention his endearing mannerisms. Luke Evans' Bard is also strong, rising from mere bargeman to dragon slayer to leader.

elizabeth:  I just saw Martin Freeman on Saturday Night Live. I have been under the false impression that those were his real ears. 

Bilbo realizes what he must do, despite the consequences.

Nicole: *rolling eyes* In many ways, The Battle of the Five Armies is reminiscent of The Two Towers. I had some flashbacks, in a good way, to Helm's Deep. But in no way is this film derivative. Alluding to its title, you can guess this movie is mostly about war. This film contains a sequence of battle scenes that lasts 45 minutes. Lest that scare anyone away, Jackson cleverly handles the staging of the battles by focusing on the main characters, switching between locations and introducing eye-popping visuals. Believe me, you won't be bored and it won't seem like, pardon the pun, overkill. And, while the conclusion is highly emotional, it's both fitting and satisfying.

elizabeth: Did you see bright colors and have the sensation of floating during your flashbacks?

Nicole: No, but I saw BOFTA in IMAX 3D, which I normally shy away from -- as I have a tendency to vomit from 3D-induced motion sickness (thanks James Cameron...I'm still waiting for my Avatar refund). A movie of this scope is incredible in SD, much less in IMAX 3D: Jackson's Weta team outdid themselves on the digital effects, as well as the standard special effects. It's utterly immersive and all-encompassing; rich with so much detail you won't want to blink. 

Galadriel uses her gifts to revive Gandalf at Dol Guldur.

elizabeth:  Might I make a  suggestion? If you suffer from motion sickness then maybe request that Jackson’s next movie have a cast of hand puppets.

Nicole: He's been there and done that. Ultimately, though, it's about the story and bringing it to a justifiable end. Purists will argue about the focus given to non-Hobbit characters like Legolas (Orlando Bloom) and Tauriel (Evangeline Lily), but Jackson and his writers Philipa Boyens and Fran Walsh handle their inclusion creatively and with respect to the source material. With respect to Legolas, his presence ties nicely into The Lord of the Rings trilogy -- which future generations will watch in the correct sequence. For doubters, just trust Jackson -- he always  has the best intentions.

Tauriel and Legolas look on the refugees of Lake-town.

elizabeth: What the hell are you talking about? Seriously, I do think some of the 3D and digital special effects take away from us using our imagination. Don’t show me everything and please don’t put it in my face. I can imagine. I do have that power. Take that, Bilbo.

Nicole: *sigh* I almost don't want to end this post, because it will mean having to say goodbye to Middle-Earth...and frankly, I'll never be ready to do that. Instead, I will say adieu and happily await the extended edition of The Battle of Five Armies on DVD, which will include a rumored extra 30 minutes of screen time. But, rationally, I know that due to the rights issues over Tolkien's works, this is very likely the last time Jackson will visit Middle-Earth...so, allow me a moment to thank him and his wonderful team for giving us a glimpse into a world that we'd never have known but for our own imaginations. And now, for #onelasttime, I'm off to the Shire for elevensies. 

Bilbo pleads to Thorin's better sense of judgment, as war looms.

elizabeth: Have we met? What have you done to Nicole? Oh, that’s right. You are now renting a 2 bedroom apartment.  42 Geek Ave., Apt. 3D, Middle-Earth. Can you get pizza delivered there?

The Film Fatales give THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES



 

Monday, September 8

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY



The  Film Fatales let you know if it is worth taking The Hundred-Foot Journey.

2014. Rated PG. 122 Minutes. Starring  Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon.  Directed by Lasse Hallström (Chocolat, What is Eating Gilbert Grape, Salmon Fishing in Yemen, and a personal favorite of one of the Film Fatales: My Life as a Dog).

The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory's Michelin-starred eatery. (IMDb)

 

 

 

elizabeth: Sometimes I think movies came to be as purely a form of escape from the world. Give us two hours and we can transport you to places you might not otherwise visit. Let us show you strength and resilience in a character or two and you might leave feeling inspired and also feeling a little silly from crying and moaning about things that you won’t remember next week or even tomorrow. End of rant.

There was a lot of hype about The Hundred-Foot Journey and I would like say that the hype was right on. The storyline is about the Kadam family from India who leave all behind in search for a better and safer life in France. One thing they know for sure is that the elder son, Hassan (played by the oh-so-handsome and charismatic Manish Dayal) inherited his mother’s gift to create culinary wonders. But then the fun begins in the form of Helen Mirren’s (The Queen, Hitchcock, The Debt) uptight and bitchy Madam Mallory. It seems the old girl has no other life than the restaurant that stands 100 feet from the Maison Mumbai.

Nicole: (I concur regarding Dayal – I suspect he’s going to become quite sought after. He certainly has the makings of a heartthrob.) This film was a delight for the eyes, as well as the mind. Set against the loveliest of French countryside backdrops and intermixed with the culinary arts, you’re sure to leave in the mood to travel and savor never-tasted cuisine.

I enjoyed the interplay between Madam Mallory and the Kadam patriarch, played by Om Puri—as well as the budding, yet complicated, romance between Hassan and Marguerite (Le Bon). But what was most interesting about this film was the “journey” taken by Hassan. It ends not where you’d expect it, but you’ll be pleased by his choice. That’s all I’ll say – I don’t want to spoil it.

elizabeth: While I found The Hundred-Foot Journey to be in the “ charming movie” category, please know that is deals with great loss and discrimination against people who don’t look like us. But the characters rise above the enormous hurt and loss and made a new life while they honored the old. The Kadam family and Madame Mallory showed what was really important in life -- a good cooked meal and not having to do clean up. Okay, they teach us that the good life does not end because of pain or loss. And Madame Mallory will surprise you, but then again, can Helen Mirren do anything wrong? 

Nicole: No, she cannot. Even if it’s a crappy movie, she redeems it. Not many actors can do that.

elizabeth: I have the urge to make an omelet.

The Film Fatales give THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY