Optical Illusion: The Eyeglasses of Colin Firth

Colin Firth’s first rate ‘eyeglasses acting’

colin-firth-kingsman-the-secret-service

So you saw Kingsman: The Secret Service and you decided it was awesome. And Colin Firth rocks as a gentleman spy who kicks ass while wearing posh suits and fancy eyeglasses. If that’s what brought you here… WELCOME!

Welcome, my friends, to my appreciation post for Colin Firth’s excellent acting and his natty eyewear that his roles on movies seem to favor these days. Ever since Tom Ford put him in those vintage glasses in A Single Man, it seems that he’s never without them in the movies. (He probably needs to wear them in real life, too, though.) And as a longtime fan of Mr. Firth and someone with an eyewear fetish, I thank all the costume designers in those movies where he plays characters with eyeglasses.

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And You Ask Me Why I Hate Reading Tabloids

If there’s one thing that annoys me more than anything, it’s sensationalist journalism. In Indonesia you can find it everywhere – newspapers, magazines, online sites that claim to be reporting the news – and it really does piss me off when it happens.

Earlier today I opened the local cinema website to check out new release schedules and something caught my eye on the left side of the page, which was this headline: Jeremy Renner Tidak Menyukai Perannya sebagai Hawkeye di The Avengers (exact translation: Jeremy Renner doesn’t like his role as Hawkeye in The Avengers)

This headline made me wrinkle my nose because well, my job being what it is and me being an Avenger fan, I would have heard if Renner said that he didn’t like being Hawkeye. In fact, I would’ve probably ranted about it and called him an ungrateful S.O.B. because that movie raised his profile as an actor to high heavens, more than Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol did. But no, I have not heard of this. Although I did know he recently talked to one of the US websites about how he thought he wasn’t given much to work with in The Avengers.

So I searched the interview and found his recent interview with LA Times Hero Complex: ‘Bourne Legacy’ star Jeremy Renner on ‘Avengers’ action and more

And this was the part that apparently got quoted by a million of other news outlets:

HC: In “Avengers,” you sort of get to play both sides. What was that like?

JR: At the end of the day, 90% of the movie, I’m not the character I signed on to play. I’m literally in there for two minutes, and then all of a sudden… All I could really work on was the physical part of it all, because that didn’t change. That was just the biggest challenge to overcome in playing the guy. Also, we’re pretty much introducing a new superhero character to everyone in a movie where there’s a thousand superheroes. So there’s not a lot of back story or understanding we can really tell about who Clint Barton is, or Hawkeye, and is he working for SHIELD or not. There’s a lot of unanswered questions, even for me. And I was OK with that. At least I was still in the movie. And I was glad for that. The closest thing I could really link to was Scarlett [Johansson’s] character, Black Widow, because they have a history. And that definitely plays in the movie, I think. And obviously, you can’t go into too much just because there’s so much story to tell, but you definitely get a sense that they’re connected, and that there’s something really, really important that ties them together. And I could try to summarize it, but it can go a lot of places. That excites me, though, that there’s room for other things.

Very diplomatic, wasn’t he? As an actor Renner probably did feel like his talents were wasted because there wasn’t really enough of anything for him to do. Even when Barton went rogue, he really was mostly acting every inch the action man. The heavy duty emotional drama is left to Tom Hiddleston, who was pulling out everything in his arsenal to piss a lot of people off. I could understand if he wasn’t at all satisfied with that as an actor but my point is, he didn’t say, “I didn’t like playing Hawkeye.”

The 21 Cineplex website mention Contactmusic.com as their source and here is their original article on the piece: The Avengers – Jeremy Renner: ‘I Didn’t Like Zombie Hawkeye In The Avengers’

To me, that headline was also very misleading. The article’s first paragraph that stated that Jeremy Renner hated playing ‘zombie Hawkeye’ was also misleading. Because, once again, he didn’t say it.

HC: Did you prefer playing evil Hawkeye or good Hawkeye?

JR: I prefer the good, because if we go to the evil part, or hypnotized or whatever the heck you want to call it, it’s kind of a vacancy. Not even a bad guy, because there’s not really a consciousness to him. The interesting part was being guilty about the bad things I did do when I was hypnotized. I think he’s already an interesting enough character. To really kind of take away who that character is and just have him be this sort of robot, essentially, and have him be this minion for evil that Loki uses. Again, I could just focus on the task. I was limited, you know what I mean? I was a terminator in a way. So yeah, fun stunts. But is there any sort of emotional content or thought process? No. That doesn’t exist in that time [that he’s hypnotized]. It happens to be for most of the movie.

HC: Are you disappointed?

JR: You know, there are a lot of people in that movie. And a lot of important characters. And my character, I felt like if I can help serve story, then I did my job.

I have no idea where these people who recycle other people’s stories could claim that a certain actor hates something, hates playing something or hates playing in something, without actually conducting the actual interview themselves. Did Contactmusic.com meet up with the Hero Complex folks and actually ask them, “Hey, did Renner sound really bitter and like he was really hating on The Avengers?” (It could happen but I doubt it.)

I just wonder about how it is possible for someone to take an actor’s words out of context and spin it into something that has highly damaging implications. No wonder some actors don’t like interviews. They could so easily be misquoted.

Maybe I’m being naive and idealistic again. After all, this is Hollywood. (Also, it’s just about Jeremy Renner and Hawkeye, not world peace or some shit like that.) But it really is a shame that this practice is common everywhere. There are only a handful of sources that we can really trust for reporting actual news and even then you still have to take everything with a grain of salt. We just can’t believe everything that we’re being told about. There’s always the chance of what is being said has already been recycled and when that happens we need to look for our own facts before you start influencing others.

My complaint here is really for 21 Cineplex. First of all, I am mostly unimpressed by their website. It looks fugly with the clutter and huge-ass graphic. I need the website for one thing and one thing only: find out movie schedules. I don’t need the news part of the website, unless it’s about special promotions and important announcements regarding their operation of the cinemas.

Secondly, since they insist on having news, I thoroughly dislike the way they present the news from recycled sources. Their writing is shitty (again, it’s an example of Indonesian tabloid-style sensationalism) and I don’t trust the content. Case in point: their reviews.

21 Cineplex website has a review section that is often very spoiler-y. I can hardly click on a review without finding out what the movie is all about, down to the last scene of the movie. I hate the fact that they call it a “review” section because all they do is outline the plot synopsis from beginning to end. There’s hardly any critical analysis of the movie. And there shouldn’t be any because it’s not their job to rate movies, but to sell them. The nature of their business beats the purpose of having reviews on their website. If they insist on having reviews, then they should stop calling it ‘reviews’.

And finally, considering their equally crappy and highly inconvenient online ticketing system, M-Tix, I have no idea why they don’t focus on improving it instead of hiring people to write second- and even third-hand news instead. (I may have another post coming up outlining my problems and dissatisfaction with M-Tix but I still don’t have sufficient data so that’s for later. Much later.)

I don’t know why I’m annoyed with this whole situation. Maybe I’m just bitter that people click on this website more often than they buy my magazine that actually contains better, more credible news. Maybe I’m sick and tired of meeting and talking to so-called movie buffs who regard themselves as ‘experts’ by reading news from dodgy sources and then dare to behave like they know better than me. Maybe today is just a really bad day and I had a very bad morning and I am looking for ways to channel my frustrations out.

Whatever it is, this situation is aggravating me and I will continue to complain about it until it changes. So I’m bitchy and a total nitpicker but I simply can’t shut up about it.

Shorter and Better: 2012 is Year of the Dwarves

Any year is a good year to be a dwarf if you’re under five feet tall and often get labeled as a ‘person of short stature’. But 2012 is the year where we get to celebrate the Year Of The Dwarves. Forget dragons – dwarves are the thing that will save you from danger. Or boredom. Or box office ruins. Especially if you’re a filmmaker with a high-profile project coming out this year.

This year we get four major live feature productions – three on the big screens and one on television – where diminutive, smaller-than-the-rest-of-the-poulation men with fierce fighting prowess, wisdom of the ages and/or excellent comedic timing steal the show from their normal-sized counterparts. There’s going to dwarves for all seasons if you care to turn your eyes into what Hollywood has to offer us in cinema and TV. And there is a rock solid guarantee that you will not be disappointed with this new breed of action heroes.

Earlier this year, in one incarnation of Brothers Grimm’s fairy tale of Snow White called Mirror Mirror (directed by Tarsem Singh) ‘the little people’ had the honor of outwitting a handsome and statuesque heartthrob with long legs not once, but twice, before helping him to get the girl. Sometime later, in a land called Westeros, a dwarf slapped a bratty young king and put him in his place while politicking around the king’s court while bedding the beautiful ladies. This summer, eight rebellious dwarves fought in a revolution with yet another Snow White in the Kirsten Stewart-starring Snow White And The Huntsman. And at the end of this year when J.R.R. Tolkien’s first masterpiece comes to live in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, there won’t just be one pint-sized action hero with big feet adventuring in Middle Earth. This action hero gets 13 Dwarf companions. THIRTEEN!

And will you look at the people who are playing these dwarves: Martin Klebba. Ian McShane. Toby Jones. Ray Winstone. Nick Frost. Richard Armitage. And the Biggie: Peter Dinklage.

Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Peter Dinklage, mind you. This is your cue to affix the title Lord Honorable or add The Grand Duke Of Awesome in front of his name. Also, it wouldn’t be remiss to bow and curtsy before him.

There is so much talent from anyone playing dwarf characters on screen that it’s virtually impossible for us to not acknowledge them as The Awesomest People Ever this year. Tyrion Lannister has always been everyone’s favorite Game Of Thrones character (including Charles Dance’s, who plays Tyrion’s dad Tywin). The seven dwarves had the funniest lines and scenes in Mirror Mirror. The eight dwarves, who were actually normal-sized actors rendered by special effects to transform into short Narnia-esque creatures saved Huntsman from utter pointlessness. With this track record, plus their own reputable fame from the already-legendary book, Martin Freeman’s Bilbo and his merry band of dwarves can only amaze us further in The Hobbit. What else is there to say?

A toast, then, to celebrate the best characters in the fantasy genre this year. Not dragons, not sorcerers, not even kick-ass princes with swords as long as their limbs… but dwarves. Short, rowdy and carefree people who love a good time, save you from evil rulers and will fight with you and for you to the end. Here’s to the dwarves!

GAME OF THRONES

Dwarf: 1

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

*

MIRROR MIRROR

Dwarves: 7

Danny Woodburn as Grimm
Martin Klebba as Butcher
Sebastian Saraceno as Wolf
Jordan Prentice as Napoleon
Mark Povinelli as Half Pint
Joe Gnoffo as Grub
Ronald Lee Clark as Chuckles

*

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

Dwarves: 8

Ian McShane as Beith
Johnny Harris as Quert
Bob Hoskins as Muir
Toby Jones as Coll
Eddie Marsan as Duir
Brian Gleeson as Gus
Ray Winstone as Gort
Nick Frost as Nion

*

THE HOBBIT

Dwarves: 13

Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield
Graham McTavish as Dwalin
Ken Stott as Balin
Aidan Turner as Kíli
Dean O’Gorman as Fíli
Mark Hadlow as Dori
Jed Brophy as Nori
Adam Brown as Ori
John Callen as Óin
Peter Hambleton as Glóin
William Kircher as Bifur
James Nesbitt as Bofur
Stephen Hunter as Bombur

A Movie Weekend in Singapore

Last weekend is pretty much a huge clusterfuck for the world: the Norway massacre, Amy Winehouse’s passing and my other blogging site went down. My condolences to the people of Norway, Winehouse’s family and fans and myself (because I can’t blog over at Livejournal and it just really sucks when this happens). And as if that’s not enough, for anyone living in Indonesia such as myself, we’re also still dealing with the Epic Movie Crisis of 2011 in which no blockbuster Hollywood movie is playing in Indonesian cinemas because A) the government is being stupid, B) the movie distributors are also being stupid, and C) apparently the Indonesian media can’t report news worth crap.

As for me, being the movie buff who’s more than just a little obsessed with Harry Potter, I hightailed it out of the country on Friday, flew to Singapore and stationed myself for three days in Shaw Lido cinema in Orchard Road to watch these summer movies that are not playing here in Indonesia. It’s my second trip to Singapore to do the same thing – the first being in last May, where I watched eight movies in the span of 60 hours – and I managed to amuse myself before the real world caught up with me and made me want to dig a hole and hide there with a Hobbit (preferably in the form of Martin Freeman, of course).

Arriving in Singapore’s Changi Airport at 9.30 AM on Friday, July 22nd, the first thing I did after passing the immigration line was to get a cab to go to the theater. Having paid SGD 19.80 in fare, I arrived at 10.15 AM in Shaw House in time to buy a set of movie vouchers from the ticket box and exchanged them with six movies that I wanted to watch. The first thing I watched there was X-Men: First Class, which I think is a movie that everyone ought to watch every Friday morning to kick start their weekend, and I made a note in my little black book of secret, random thoughts about it, writing “McFassy Bendervoy bromance first thing in the morning gives a whole new meaning to ‘first class’.”

After that, it was onwards to the second movie – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. FINALLY. I’m usually the first person in the planet to watch a new Harry Potter movie but this time around I had to wait a week to watch it. But I have no regrets because it doesn’t matter how soon or how late I watched it, my first viewing of it left me completely in tears. If you’d asked me right after the movie finished what I thought about it, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you because all I remembered was crying for more than half of the movie, especially at all the Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape’s moments.

I don’t know if watching  Green Lantern after Potter was a good idea but it wasn’t like I was given a choice of the showtime. The movie plays only once throughout the day and the 5 PM showtime was the only time I could watch it. So still riding high from the Potterdrenaline I watched as whoever wrote the script of the movie screwed up the story of one of DC Comics’ best superheroes (of 2010, at least, because Geoff Johns’ Blackest Night series was one of the best things to have happened last year). I’m also putting the blame on whoever decided to cast Blake Lively in this movie. But at least Ryan Reynolds remain extremely pleasing to the eyes so it was NOT a total lost.

My movie line-up for Friday ended with the clad-in-CG-costumes superheroes, allowing me to have dinner and meet up with a friend rather early. But come Saturday morning, it started all over again. I watched the 10.30 AM showtime of Kung Fu Panda 2 and both laughed and cried myself silly in the theatre; the movie was indeed made of awesome.

And I knew for sure this time that I made the right choice of watching that movie first before the next one because my 12.30 appointment at Shaw Lido’s Theatre 2 is going to be with a long, exhausting and utterly explosive movie directed by Michael Bay. It really is just better to start with something light before a movie like Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. That way, whenever you start feeling frustrated at Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s complete lack of talent, skill and ability for acting, you can just remember how Jack Black and Angelina Jolie’s characters in the previous movie have sort-of-kind-of-did-that-really-happen inter-species romance, giggle for a moment and say, “Really? Po and Tigress? REALLY?” To be honest, though, Transformers 3 was very good. The only bad thing about it was the female lead, if you could call her that. Other than her utter unimportance to the story and her bad acting, I liked this third Transformers installment quite a lot and not only because Alan Tudyk’s Dutch is probably the best character the franchise could have ever had. Then again, I’ve always been a fan…

Finally, I ended the day’s moviegoing activities by watching Your Highness. Mind you, this sort of comedy is really not my thing… it’s juvenile, it’s crude, it’s gory and it looks cheap (did they not get a special effects budget?) But surprisingly, I laughed a lot and it’s probably the first time ever in the history of me liking movies that I actually enjoyed Natalie Portman’s performance. Go figure!

Sunday was a day of repeats. I watched Harry Potter and Transformers again… and managed to come up with more substantial thoughts about other than “OMG SNAPE YOU WONDERFUL MAN YOU!” Which is good… because one of my assignments this month is to write a review for the movie for the magazine. I almost didn’t watch Transformers for the second time but, I thought, oh well, it shouldn’t hurt to watch Optimus and Megatron try and kill each other. Plus, it was worth spending money to see Alan Tudyk again. So I did. (Fair warning: I’m stalking this actor from now on!)

Having a movie marathon weekend is so much fun. I just wish, of course, I didn’t have to do it in Singapore. I think it’s extremely ridiculous that we don’t get to watch summer blockbusters in Indonesian cinemas. Some sources have been saying that the situation has been resolved now, the movies are coming back, and in fact HPDH Part 2 and Transformers 3 are going to play very soon in cinemas, and they are coming back this month, etc. But seriously? We shouldn’t have to be made to wait this long to watch them in the first place.

I’m not saying I don’t want the government and the movie distributors to collect their collective crap together, but I’m only saying: don’t you have a more efficient way to do that without sacrificing the people’s need for cinematic entertainment? Yes, I realize that not everybody thinks movies are all that great and I know there are other forms of entertainment that we can still enjoy, but have you tried talking to a foreigner about not being able to watch Harry Potter or Thor? Have you ever tried telling people who live abroad, “We don’t have Hollywood movies in Indonesia anymore”? Have you ever tried explaining the whole situation? If you have, then you should have felt what I felt when I tried doing – extremely ridiculous and pathetic.

Anyway, rant aside, this weekend has been fun for me. Of course it makes discovering the news about Norway and Winehouse, plus meeting a dead Livejournal website, all the worse because, after having so much fun, these incidents felt all the more rage/sorrow-inducing. But I can’t imagine where I would be right now if I hadn’t watched those movies before finding out for the nth time what a sad world we live in… I’d have probably drowned myself in a pond somewhere out of depression. The fun and entertainment those movies provide, at least, allowed me to escape to several fictional worlds where I can recharge my happiness levels if even for a short while. That’s why I enjoyed the trip and that’s why watching those commercial blockbusters was, is and always will be essential for my well-being.

Having said that, here is what needs to happen: WORLD, START MAKING SENSE AGAIN. You’ve had your chance to screw us over this weekend, now right yourself and make us happy again without us having to resort to Hollywood entertainment to smile.

3D: Dizzying, Dispensable, Disproportionate

“There’s an evolution, and people are starting to not accept inferior forms, which is good.  But it’s typical of Hollywood to get it wrong. We do a film that’s natively authored in 3D — it’s shot in 3D.  So they assume from the success of that, that they can just turn movies into 3D.  In 8 weeks.  You know, just throw a switch on 3D and that’s gonna work somehow.  If you wanna make a movie in 3D, MAKE the movie in 3D. It should be a filmmaker-driven process and not a studio-driven process.”

– James Cameron (from this interview)

Ah, FINALLY. Someone is speaking up against the whole “movies-in-3D-are-better” crap. Seriously, Hollywood, listen to the man.

I pretty much have nothing else to say because, frankly, James Cameron said it all. I’ve been waiting for someone to say this to the world at large ever since the filmmakers of Harry Potter decided to release Deathly Hallows Part I and II in 3 effing D. At that time, I felt like grabbing a stuffed baseball bat (toy) and just hitting the Davids – Heyman, Yates, whoever – on the head for that. In fact, I still do now. If they go ahead with this 3D plans for the last 2 movies in the franchise, I might just have to jab them all with a spork. The only thing that would forgive them for going 3D is if Steve Kloves actually came up with a worse script than what he did for Half-Blood Prince. That way, I’d be too worked up on exacting revenge plans for Kloves that the 3D wouldn’t matter.

But, seriously… enough 3D. Just because James Cameron is bored enough to spend the last decade to develop a movie with an inferior story into a freaking massive epic 3D masterpiece, it doesn’t mean everyone has to. First, Hollywood can’t make a decent enough script for a movie without resorting to books (or amusement park rides or old movies or TV shows or video games) these days. Second, it’s trying to cover this up by making all their movies in 3D. I say, stop being stupid, Hollywood, it’s embarrassing.

That said, I’m looking forward to Tim Burton’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The one that will play in a cinema near me NOT in 3D. 🙂