Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five for the Fifth: or my answers to Ruth's questions for the month...

Well, it's the fifth, and we all know what that means!  Ruth, over at Flixchatter, has put together another batch of questions for her 'Five for the Fifth'.  I love these, and I usually try and participate by posting here my response to her five questions.  Sadly, I missed last month, but there was one question in particular I really wanted to answer because it would give me an excuse to talk about I just HAD to make the time for it this month!  

Without further ado:

Thoughts on DIVERGENT and/or Shailene Woodley as a leading actress?

"Please let me be the next Jennifer Lawrence..."
First, I don’t have much interest in ‘Divergent’ as a whole past Kate Winslet, but I also didn’t have any interest in ‘The Hunger Games’ and I wound up liking it a lot (even though it is mere fluff and nothing more).  I also have a very similar feeling towards Woodley that I did towards Jennifer Lawrence around the time that ‘The Hunger Games’ was released.  I found Lawrence so incredibly dull, which is pretty much what I feel about Woodley.  She does nothing for me.  She’s also very plain looking, which adds to her uninteresting quality.  I found her overrated in ‘The Descendants’, but I did like her a great deal in ‘The Spectacular Now’, so the girl has talent.  Lawrence spring-boarded to fame (and subsequently found her talent) with the release of ‘The Hunger Games’ and then her work alongside David O. Russell, so I’m wondering if this will give Woodley extra attention and give her better roles.  I’m not convinced she has what it takes to not be forgotten tomorrow, but only time will tell.

What do you think of Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, THE WATER DIVINER?

Is this what heaven looks like?
A great deal!  Yes, I’ve admitted many times over that Crowe is my favorite working actor and despite his recent pitfalls (less in performance and more in chosen material) I still have a massive soft spot for him as a whole and will watch anything he’s in.  ‘Noah’ and ‘Winter’s Tale’ sound so great on paper and yet trailers and early ink have me worried that the end result will be less than I anticipate, but ‘The Water Diviner’ sounds incredible.  First off, the story sounds incredibly moving and I just love period films, and have recently seen ‘Gallipoli’ I’m intrigued with where Crowe goes with this.  He’s also a great match for the lead role, and the idea of actors directing themselves intrigues me (it does happen often, with mixed results).  With regards to Crowe’s directing capabilities, I’m confident.  He is known to be VERY opinionated as an actor, and he’s said (and both Howard and Scott have commented) that he’s very hands on as an actor and puts a lot of himself into all areas of the film.  I think he could do very well here, and that still just looks beautiful.  He’s also not a vain actor, which will work to his advantage.  He’s all about getting into the grit and not making himself look pretty. 

Michael Sheen and Michael Mann have birthdays today!  What’s your favorite film from each birthday fellow?

I’ve seen most of Mann’s work, and I’m not entirely a fan.  I mean, he has some really great aspects to his nerve wracking aesthetic, but I find that it works most in films that aren’t forced into that action zone.  His debit ‘Thief’ is a great example of that, and ‘The Insider’ is probably his best film since it comfortably blends both the thrills of an action film with the emotional weight of drama. 

I like Sheen a lot, but I’m very under-versed in his filmography.  I also don’t really love any of the films of his that I’ve seen, even if I like the performances.  I’d say that my favorite performance comes from ‘The Queen’, but I think I prefer ‘Frost/Nixon’ as a film.

What do you think of the casting of Nicolas Cage in MEN WITH NO FEAR, and what role would you suggest Cage take on?

Sadly, no, cages were harmed in the filming of this scene...
I honestly avoid anything with Cage’s name attached and would like to see him take on the role of the unemployed, so I’m all out of this, especially since this sounds like a dumb film (been there done that, someone else did it better).

Do you think Oscar should nominate more comedic films, and if so, which ones do you think deserved to be nominated?

Finding an Oscar nomination on this map is damn near impossible!
I think the stigma of genre should be erased entirely.  Comedy, drama, animated, foreign, superhero, action, horror, thriller…if you are the best of the year you should be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  Sadly, this does not happen very often, and with a Comedy (which is still nominated more often than other genres) it really needs to be a quirky indie film that took off with audiences and became a Blockbuster mega-hit.  Sundance also helps.

Personally, I’ve nominated Moonrise Kingdom, (500) Days of Summer, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, In Bruges, Volver, Pride & Prejudice, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Mean Girls, Finding Nemo, Adaptation, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Amelie and Best in Show, and that is only from 2000 onward and not including films that Oscar nominated that I also nominate, like Lost in Translation of Toy Story 3!

So there you have it Ruth!  So happy I could participate this month.  Here is to hoping that next month I'll be able to as well.


  1. Hi Andrew!

    Fair enough man, but hey you never know you might end up loving Divergent. Hmmm, Woodley plain looking? Well I suppose you're a guy but to me I think she is very pretty and has beautiful figure on top of that. I'm glad she seems more than just a pretty face though.

    I'll always have a soft spot for Crowe because of Gladiator. I do like the premise a lot, I've always liked a cultural drama and the fact that it's shot in both Australia and Turkey sounds awesome. I don't have a problem w/ an opinionated actor, seems that Hollywood likes "yes men" so he's deemed difficult by people, but obviously he brings results.I agree that he doesn't strike me as being vain.

    I LOVE LOVE ‘The Insider’ I like what you said that it indeed blends both the thrills of an action film with the emotional weight of drama. The only film I'm not keen on from Mann is Public Enemies. Haven't seen Thief yet though. Gah, I really need to see Frost/Nixon soon!

    Ha..ha.. No love for Cage eh? I'm sure lots of people are in your camp, Andrew. I dunno, for some reason I can't hate on the man even though I hate what he's been doing. I remember when I went to Bath a few years back (as I'm a big Jane Austen fan) and the tour guide pointed out to this big house that apparently belonged to Cage. Heh, I guess that's why he took on all this crappy movies in order to pay for all these houses. I mean WHY on earth would he need a house in Bath for anyway??

    You are spot on about the *stigma associated with certain genres and I think that's just wrong. Who knows if the Academy would ever do that though, habits die hard in that close-minded community.

    Thanks again for taking this on, Andrew! Fun answers man, hope you can take part again next month! :D

    – ruth

    1. It's not that Woodley isn't pretty, I just find her visually bland...

      You need to see Thief!

      Cage had his heyday, which upon reflection wasn't really all that spectacular to begin with. Now he's a joke, but I am interested in Joe (as Josh mentions).

    2. A joke he may be... but I just can't help but enjoy myself when he hams it up so I'm on the "so bad its good" side here. But I can understand your view and your reviews are great so lets call a spade a spade and agree to disagree here.

    3. Thanks for the compliment Chris! I am all for agreeing to disagree. I totally get the enjoyment in someone hamming it up. I guess I just don't really care for his particular breed of ham.

  2. I can't wait for The Water Diviner!! Speaking of Crowe, I totally dropped the ball on reading Winter's Tale, so I'll probably read the book after I see the film.

    The only film I want to see with Nicolas Cage is Joe, which looks interesting. I'd love to see him have a McConaissance.

    Yes, more comedies please!

    1. LOL, I totally wish we could see The Water Diviner together. Our combined love of Crowe together in the same theater where he directs his debut that he also stars in may be too much to handle though :-P

    2. Ha, it might be too much to handle regardless :)