Peanuts and Popcorn

Peanuts and Popcorn

The 72nd Golden Globes was Full of Surprises

posted by jtotey
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler speak during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 (NBC)

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler speak during the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, Jan. 11, 2015 (NBC)

When Richard Linklater’s Boyhood arrived in theaters many months ago, many critics suspected that the film could walk away with a bunch of awards this year and if tonight’s winnings at the 72nd Golden Globes are any indication, that suspicion could come true. The movie was nominated for five awards and won three including Best Motion Picture. Other than that, the rest of the night was full of surprises.

Shown live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel and hosted once again by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey (who both swear that this will be their last time to host), were fantastic as usual. The Grand Budapest Hotel won for Best Motion Picture: Comedy or Musical (for some reason), and The Theory of Everything and Birdman both won two awards each. How to Train Your Dragon 2 actually beat out Disney for Best Animated Film and the only musical, Annie, did not for Best Original Song. That tribute went to Selma for John Legend’s song “Glory.”

For the TV awards, one of the biggest surprises was that only one TV show from the conventional TV stations won an award and it was for one of the least well-known shows on the air. Gina Rodriguez won for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series for her role in Jane the Virgin which is from the CW network. Perhaps the next biggest surprise was that on the players newest to the field, Amazon, walked away with winnng two arwards for Transparent. Jeffrey Tambor gave an emotional speech dedicating his award to the trans-gender community and thanked them for allowing him to be part of “the change” in America.

The hight points of the night included commedianne Margaret Cho came dressed as Kim Jon Un and George Clooney winning the DeMille award and Michael Keaton’s acceptance speech for Birdman thanking his son for being his best friend.

Here is the complete list of this year’s winners:

  • MOVIES
    Best Motion Picture – Drama: Boyhood
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama: Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
    Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: The Grand Budapest Hotel
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: Amy Adams (Big Eyes)
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: Michael Keaton (Birdman)
    Best Animated Feature Film: How to Train Your Dragon 2
    Best Foreign Language Film: Leviathan (Russia)
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
    Best Director – Motion Picture: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
    Best Screenplay – Motion Picture: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo (Birdman)
    Best Original Score – Motion Picture: Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything)
    Best Original Song – Motion Picture: “Glory” (Selma)
  • TELEVISION
    Best TV Series – Drama: The Affair
    Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Drama: Ruth Wilson (The Affair)
    Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Drama: Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
    Best TV Series – Comedy or Musical: Transparent
    Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical: Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin)
    Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical: Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
    Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Fargo
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honorable Woman)
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Billy Bob Thornton (Fargo)
    Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey)
    Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Min-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV: Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart)

Look Who’s Sneaking into Theaters

posted by jtotey
Heyday Films

Heyday Films

Although the story of a little bear named Paddington has been aroud since 1958, his story is just now making it to the big screen – and practically sneaking in as there has been little fanfare for the film.

The original story was an inspiration that came to author Michael Bond on Christmas Eve in 1956. Bond noticed a lone teddy bear sitting all by himself on a store shelf near Paddington Station, so he purchased the bear as a gift for his wife. Bond then wrote “A Bear Called Paddington” in ten days, but it wasn’t published until October 13, 1958 by William Collins & Sons. Since then, more than 20 books have been written about the stuffed little guy.

For purists, the new live action/CGI film isn’t based on any single book, but is said to borrow storylines from a of them. The film version follows the adventures of the yound Peruvian bear who travels in search of a home. The Brown family notice the message that reads “Please look after this bear” around his neck and take him in. Apparently, he is in danger of being captured by a museum taxidermist. It stars Michael Gambon who most viewers will hardly recognize (he played Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films), Nicole Kidman and Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington.

Third ‘Night at the Museum’ Totally Redeems Itself

posted by jtotey
(L-R) Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), Nick Daley (Skyler Gisondo) and Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens)  Twentieth Century Fox

(L-R) Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek), Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck), Attila the Hun (Patrick Gallagher), Larry Daley (Ben Stiller), Nick Daley (Skyler Gisondo) and Sir Lancelot (Dan Stevens) Twentieth Century Fox

Ben Stiller’s first Night at the Museum (2006) was a fun and clever movie about a museum security guard who is surprised to find on his first night that all of the artifacts come to life when the sun goes down. When the sequel, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, came out in 2009, it proved that all involved should have not have bothered. The film took away all of the likeable characters in favor to introduce new ones who were not as charming as the original set and featured a convoluted storyline. Many will be surprised to learn that the second sequel, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, rights all of the wrongs of the second film and finishes off the series nicely.

This time around, Director Shawn Levy and crew bring back everything that worked well with the first movie and improved upon it. There appears to be no reference to the second movie, including the character of Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams), who played the love interest for Larry Daley, the security guard (Ben Stiller). It is as if she, or any of the other Smithsonian characters for that matter, never existed. Instead, the story takes place years later with Larry convincing Dr. McPhee (Ricky Gervais) that the characters come to life as a form of special effects. All the characters come together for a special gala at the museum to put on a show when some strange force causes the characters to malfunction (for lack of a better word). This leads Larry to travel to the British Museum in hopes of finding an answer. However, he is surprised to find out that he packed along a few stowaways as well. This makes his job tougher for him, but a lot more fun for us.

Fans of the original will be glad to know that some favorite characters like Theodore Roosevelt (Robin Williams), Octavius (Steve Coogan) and Jedediah (Owne Wilson) play much larger roles than they did in the second one, although Sacagawea (Mizuo Peck) still doesn’t have much to do. The movie also adds Dan Stevens as Sir Lancelot, Ben Kingsley as Ahkmenrah’s (Rami Malek) father the pharaoh, Rebel Wilson as the night guard at the British Museum and a second role for Stiller as Laa the new Neanderthal who mistakes Larry as his father. Even the original guards played by Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs and Dick Van Dyke make a short appearance. Dyke, the old chimney sweep, proves that he can still dance after all these years too.

The film is bittersweet in some ways including the fact that Larry needs to let his son Nickey (Skyler Gisondo) plan his own life, and that we the audience have to say goodbye to these much-loved characters. This is also one of the last performances for Williams and Rooney. The film is dedicated to the two actors as well. With that said, the film is very funny and is appropriate for the whole family. If there is any bad language, I missed it and there isn’t a hint of inappropriate humor with the exception of a monkey relieving himself in two scenes which is gross and unnecessary. Finally, the film also shares a message of encouragement to be the best you can be. Two of the films best lines are:

Larry: “I have no idea what I’m going to do tomorrow.”

Theodore Roosevelt: “How exciting.”

Exodus: Good Movie, Wrong Story

posted by jtotey
Moses (Christian Bale) shows the Hebrews how to fight with Nun (Ben Kingsley) looking on. (20th Century Fox)

Moses (Christian Bale) shows the Hebrews how to fight with Nun (Ben Kingsley) looking on. (20th Century Fox)

One has to wonder why some in Hollywood feel like they have to improve on stories based on the Bible. Perhaps it has to do with the idea that if you present a Bible story on screen, people will already know the ending, so you might want to shake things up a little. But I suspect that there is something more to it, but I can’t figure out what it is.

When Noah came to theaters earlier this year, many Christians appreciated the effort and would rely on the thought, “At least people are talking about the Bible. Maybe now they will read it.” Others felt that it was their job to warn the masses of its false doctrine. Months later, the film has failed to capture the hearts of many, nobody is talking about it and America is no worse off. However, people are still talking about the little production of God’s Not Dead, a film that didn’t try to change who God is, and it isn’t even a Bible story.

From the trailers, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings looks like Oscar-bait, but I wouldn’t clear off a place on the mantel just yet if I were him. The thing is, Exodus is actually a good movie, albeit a rather long one. It is beautiful to look at, features impressive 3D technology and the action scenes are done well without a lot of gore. It only has one flaw – the story is only remotely related to the Bible.

Ramses (Joel Edgertaon) contemplates. Something he does a lot throughout the movie.

Ramses (Joel Edgerton) contemplates. Something he does a lot throughout the movie.

Those with only a little bit of Bible knowledge will be able to figure out the flaws immediately. What we know about Moses is that God chose him to be a leader, but he didn’t want the job. He stuttered when he spoke and wasn’t confident that anyone would listen to him. For that reason, God had him partner with his brother to do the talking. Scott’s version has a whole different type of Moses in mind.

When I first heard that Christian “Batman” Bale was to play the role of Moses, I thought, “Huh?” After seeing the film, I thought, “Huh?” Bale’s Moses doesn’t stutter and has no problem speaking his mind. Instead of carrying a staff, he carries a sword. Instead of humbly asking Pharaoh to let his people go in broad daylight, he sneaks up on him in the middle of the night and threatens him with a sword. And his brother? Nowhere to be seen – at least, not throughout most of the movie.

The epic film, one that you won’t really mind sitting through, sets the story with Moses and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) as stepbrothers. Moses is unaware that he was actually delivered via straw basket by his sister when he was an infant. During a battle, Moses risks his own life to save Ramses, a feat that Seti (John Turturro) and step-father, seems impressed with. To say that Ramses has daddy issues is an understatement.

Moses (Christian Bale) and Zipporah (María Valverde) on their wedding day.

Moses (Christian Bale) and Zipporah (María Valverde) on their wedding day.

Eventually, Moses gets exposed as a Hebrew and is exiled from the palace, but not how the Bible describes it. He has a long journey where he meets a prophet Nun (Ben Kingsley), not mentioned in the Bible, who explains Moses’ true origins. He goes further, meets his eventual wife Zipporah (María Valverde), has a child and explores a mountain that apparently God has forbidden him to. There he sees the burning bush and a messenger (but is basically God) who is in form of a boy. Yes, Scott decided that portraying God as a willful, spoiled brat was better idea. Moses decides to free the slaves by teaching them to fight. When this fails, the disgusted child takes matters into his own hands and creates a bunch of plagues. God doesn’t even seem to get credit for creating them as Ramses’ people explain the phenomenon away. And on and on it goes.

Perhaps the films greatest error is giving actress Sigourney Weaver about three lines of dialogue and not much to do except glare. In the end, I think most viewers will feel cheated. Moses is like an expensive handbag that turns out to be a cheap imitation of the real thing. At least there are no rock monsters in the film.


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