Thursday, January 26, 2006

Capote ...

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Yesterday; I finally saw the much awaited movie “Capote” ...
An Absolutely Brilliant Movie!!!
I’m writing this post in a great hurry; but feel compelled to jot down some thoughts on my mind ...

The movie is a biography on the life of Truman Capote; but not his entire life; it rather focuses just on the incidences surrounding the writing of his famous novel “In Cold Blood”; which actually is a non-fiction crime novel; on the brutal murder of 4 family members; that took place in 1959.

Director: Bennett Miller
Philip Seymour Hoffman [as Truman Capote]
Catherine Keener [as Harper Lee]
Clifton Collins Jr. [as Perry Smith]

# Philip Hoffman did a brilliant impersonation /impressions of a very interesting and controversial character – Truman Capote! He makes me want to know much more about Capote; as also to read his novels ...
Of the many character impersonifications that I’ve seen; this one stands out; or is at par with the best ...
To name a few ...
- Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line”
- Leonardo diCaprio as Howard Hughes in “The Aviator”
- Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in “Ray”
- Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler in “Schindler’s List”
- Ben Kingsley as Gandhi in “Gandhi”

# True Stories rule ...
The three best movies of 2005; are all based true stories:
• Capote
• Munich
• Good Night & Good Luck
This trend was there even the year before [2004] ... Ray, Aviator & Hotel Rwanda...
And some of the all time best movies are based on true stories ...

# 2005: Year of gay – movies:
• Brokeback Mountain
• Capote
• *Transamerica [not seen yet]
• Rent [Lesser known movie - a musical – but good]

# I didn’t know ...
• that the famous novel “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is written by Truman Capote; though I’ve seen the movie.
• that Harper Lee, author of novel “To Kill a Mocking Bird” [again I’ve seen the movie but not read the novel] … was Capote’s very close friend.

# I’m always intrigued by investigative journalism ... and though Capote was not a journalist; but he acts as one ... To write a novel; he goes on interviewing not only the near-n-dear ones of the murder-victims; but meeting with the 2 convicted murderers several time in prison, and trying to bring us their humane aspect ...
This investigative spirit; reminds me of two awesome journalist-based movies:
- Good Night & Good Luck [Edward Murrow brings down Senator Joseph McCarthy]
- All the Presidents Men [ Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward exposed the Watergate Scandal that brought down Nixon administration]

Final Word: EXCELLENT !

* Of all the movies mentioned in this post ...
there's just one movie I havent yet seen: "Transamerica"

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Golden Globe Awards [2006] ...

63rd annual Golden Globe Awards were announced Jan. 16th; 2006 in Hollywood.
The most coveted of all awards is definitely The Academy Awards ...
However; the Golden Globe has historically been a predictor of how the Oscars will shape up. The 2006 Academy Awards will be presented on March 5th and the Oscar nominations come out on Jan 31st.

"Unlike the Oscars, which are determined by about 5,800 film-industry professionals, the Globes are parceled out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association [HFPA]; a group of 86 journalists who write for different publications ..."

If the Globe is any indicator; "Brokeback Mountain" is the movie of the season. It bagged the most important awards [Best Picture, Director, Screenplay & Original Song] categories. Surprizingly "Munich" got a cold shoulder; though I think its a very well made movie. Another movie that I really liked is "Goodnight & Goodluck".
So Best Movie category may have some competition; but the Best Actor [Philip Seymore Huffman for "Capote"] and Best Actress [Reese Witherspoon for "Walk The Line"] seem almost certain ....

Below is the list of Golden Globe [2006] winners ...
• Cecil B. DeMille [Lifetime Achievement] Award: Sir Anthony Hopkins
• Best Picture - Brokeback Mountain
• Best Director - Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain)
• Best Screenplay - Brokeback Mountain
• Best Performance by an Actress - Felicity Huffman (Transamerica)
• Best Performance by an Actor - Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)
• Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role - Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener)
• Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role - George Clooney (Syriana)

Musical / Comedy Category
• Best Motion Picture - Walk The Line
• Best Performance by an Actress - Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line)
• Best Performance by an Actor - Joaquin Phoenix (Walk The Line)
• Best Foreign Language Film - Paradise Now
• Best Original Score - Memoirs Of A Geisha
• Best Original Song - "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" (Brokeback Mountain)

Reference: Golden Globe Awards
The “Hollywood Foreign Press Association” [HFPA] awards the Golden Globes to honor achievements in film and television during the calendar year. It began in 1944.the awards are often regarded as the third most publicized awards for movies and television, after the Academy Awards (for film) and Emmy Awards (for television). This is particularly true since 1996, when the HFPA signed a new television broadcast contract.

* Recent Cecil B. DeMille winners include Robin Williams (2005), Michael Douglas (2004), Gene Hackman (2003), Harrison Ford (2002), Al Pacino (2001), Barbra Streisand (2000), and Jack Nicholson (1999).

Also see: HFPA [Hollywood Foreign Press Association]

People's Choice Awards [2006] ...

The 32nd annual People's Choice Awards were held on Tuesday, January 10, 2006, at the Shrine Auditorium.
It was hosted by by comedian Craig Ferguson.

• Movie: Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
• Movie comedy: Wedding Crashers
• Family movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
• Leading lady: Reese Witherspoon
• Leading man: Brad Pitt
• Female movie star: Sandra Bullock
• Male movie star: Johnny Depp
• Female action star: Jennifer Garner
• Male action star: Matthew McConaughey
• On-screen matchup: Vince Vaughn & Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers)

• Female performer: Kelly Clarkson
• Male performer: Tim McGraw
• Group: Green Day
• Tour: U2
• Song From a Movie: Jessica Simpson - "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" from The Dukes of Hazzard

• Crest Whitestrips Fans Favorite Smile: Cameron Diaz
• Nice 'N Easy Fans Favorite Hair: Faith Hill
• Olay Total Effects Fans Favorite Look: Jennifer Aniston

What is People’s Choice Awards?
Reference: People's Choice Awards
The People's Choice Awards are different from most Hollywood award shows. Until 2004, the winners of the People's Choice Awards were selected through a Gallup poll of the general public. The people were polled for their opinion about their favorite movie & TV stars, their favorite singers, and their favorite films and TV programs. Those polled were free to name any star that they like as their favorite; their choice is not limited to a handful of nominees.

However, in 2004, they dropped Gallup and switched to a partnership with Entertainment Weekly magazine. Now, nominees are determined by a "front row panel of over 6,000 entertainment enthusiasts" recruited by EW editors. The panel votes on the various categories, then people vote via the Internet for the winners.
To cast a vote via the Internet go to

December [2005] ...

The months of November/December/January ...
are traditionally the time for some of the best movies to be released ...

The BEST MOVIE … I’ve seen this year: MUNICH!!!!
Already seen it twice ...
Some other movies that I saw recently:

Romance/ drama with a bit of noir twist!
Director: Woody Allen
The only cast I recognized was Scarlett Johansson.
Reminds of “Crime & Misdemeanors”; which I think was better than this movie.

Director: Ang lee
Cast: Heath Ledger; Jake Gyllenhall, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams

Director: Peter Jackson
Cast: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody

Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Eugene Levy, Carmen Electra

Director: James Mangold
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon
Based on the life of Johnny Cash & his relationship with June Carter

[6] RENT:
Musical – A beautiful movie!
Director: Chris Columbus ... director of Harry Potter [Sorcerer’s Stone, Chambers of Secret], Stepmom, Mrs Doubtfire, Home Alone

[7] Munich
[8] Syriana

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Munich & Syriana ...

Based on true events:
In 1972 Munich Olympics, 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists group called Black September. Israeli government under PM Golda Meir; recruited a 5 member group of ex-Mossad agents to execute these terrorists.
Well Steven Spielberg is Hollywood’s most talented Jew, and this movie can be interpreted as taking Israel’s side but he presents it in a very unbiased manner. None of these members of the revenge-squad is a trained hit-men and the focus is on how in their first killing; they are hesitant; but became daring and almost emotionless in subsequent ones. It's a movie on the fight for land or "home". It's remarkable how Spielberg presented imparial views of both sides: Palestinians and Israelis.
The performance of all the actors are really good; but two stand out:
- Eric Bana – With every movie of his that I see; I admire him more and more [Troy, Black Hawk Down and Hulk]
- Craig David – The next blonde Bond guy. He’s awesome.
Though; I didn’t quite notice him in Elizabeth or Road to Perdition.

This is a serious and complex movie. It’s a commentary on the existing oil-politics. Though a fictional story, but based in the true existing economic-political dynamics. There are many parallel story-lines but they are all connected. It has CIA operative [George Clooney], oil broker [Matt Damon], Gulf Royal family, corporate giants, lawyers, immigrant workers and suicide bombers.
Though Syriana is a good movie; I preferred George Clooney’s other movie:
Good Night and Good Luck much more.

Listing down some war movies that I’ve seen :
- THE BALKANS [1993]: Behind Enemy Lines, No Mans Land
- SOMALIA [1993]: Black Hawk Down
- THE GULF WAR [1991]: Bravo Two Zero, Three Kings
- VIETNAM WAR [1965-73]: Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now
- KOREAN WAR [1950-53]: M*A*S*H
- COLD WAR [1945-1991]: The hunt for Red October, Topgun, Thirteen Days
- WORLD WAR - II [1939-45]: Saving Private Ryan, Enemy at the Gates, A bridge too Far, Das Boots, The English Patient, The Eagle has Landed, Schindlers List, Tora Tora Tora, U-571, Casablanca
- SOME OTHERS: Braveheart, The Patriot, Ben-hur, Gladiator, Dances With Wolves, Gone With The Wind ...

Hail! Hail Rock N' Roll !!!

Few days back I saw this movie on TV ... "CHUCK BERRY HAIL! HAIL ROCK N ROLL!" [1987]
What a beautiful movie!!!!
I wonder how could anyone not admire Chuck Berry especially after seeing this movie?
Also how could anyone not dance to his beats? EXCELLENT MOVIE!!!

It’s actually a documentary to cover the 60th birthday of Chuck Berry,
which was celebrated at a concert at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri.
One highlight was John Lennon’s son Julianne Lennon; perform with Chuck Berry; the song was ... “Johnny B Goode”
Songs List includes: Roll Over Beethoven, Maybelline, School Days, Reelin’ and Rockin’, Sweet Little Sixteen, Johnny B Goode, Too Much Monkey Business, Memphis Tennessee, Think of you, Nadine ...

Director: Taylor Hackford
who has directed movies like Ray, Proof Of Life and The Devil’s Advocate!

Some other outstanding documentaries; especially for any Rock fan:

Another absolutely STUNNING MOVIE !!! Director: Martin Scorsese ...
It's a documentary on the final concert of the group “The Band” in 1976, San Francisco's Winterland. See Robbie Robertson, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Muddy waters and others….

A documentary on John Lennon. With songs like:
Imagine, In My Life, Strawberry Fields Forever, Revolution, Don’t let me down, Help!, Twist and Shout, Woman, God

- WOODSTOCK [1970]
Chronicles the 1969 Woodstock Music festival at Bethel, New York. ..
With performances from Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Joe Cracker, Carlos Santana, and Sly Stone ...

Based on “The summer of 1970”; when a chartered train traveled across Canada carrying some of the world's greatest rock bands. The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy, and others. Their journey was filmed.

All the movies listed above are all documentaries.
Some commercial movies on lives of music-artists:
• Walk the line – 2005 [ Johnny Cash]
• Ray – 2004 [Ray Charles]
• 8 Miles – [2002] Eminem
• Elvis and Me [1988] – story of Priscilla’s life with Elvis Presley
• School of Rock - 2003

Some musical programes I saw on TV; worth noting down for records.
[From my scribble pad]
- Rock and Roll Induction Ceremony: 2005
Blues legend B.B. King and Eric Clapton inducted BUDDY GUY ...
Performances from Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart, B.B. King, Justin Timberlake, Eric Clapton, Neil Young ...

- VH1- Save The Music Concert: New York [Feb 28th, 2005]
Performances from Mariah Carey, Alicia keys, Rob Thomas, Sheryl Crowe, Bon Jovi, Queen Latifa ...

- Country Music Awards 2005
CBS Television show – from Madison Square Garden, New York City
Performances from Kenny Chesney, Keith Richards, Gretchebn Wilson ...

- LIVE 8 – Concerts - 2005

[Listing just for the record, maybe someday I’ll elaborate]
- Rent – 2005 – Good movie!
- The Phantom of the Opera
- Chicago
- Moulin Rouge
- Staying Alive
- Footloose
- Grease
- Saturday Night Fever
- Cabaret
- My Fair Lady
- Mary Poppins
- Singing In the Rain