Monday, February 29, 2016

A Fistful of Thoughts...about The Oscars, duh!

Well now what?

Oscar night is pretty much the one thing I look forward to every year with meticulous preparation.  But you know that already.  We're film bloggers.  It's what we do.  We speculate, commiserate, communicate and commemorate all year long in that VERY long walk to Oscar Sunday and then, when it's over...we start all over again.

So, that's what's now.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Oscar Winner Predictions

It's finally that time.  The Oscars are tomorrow and everyone is getting their predictions in order for what they think is going to go down.  Of course, I have my predictions as well, and so here they are.  This has been one of those amazingly crazy years where nothing that made sense actually happened.  Movies that are almost anti-bait wound up making giant leaps towards Oscar, many categories became so fluid that a winner is almost a gamble of a prediction and so much bait we thought was locked became...ousted.

Tomorrow, quite frankly, anything could happen.

But, for what it's worth, this is what I think will happen:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Valentine's Edition, Pt. 4

Thursday!  Thursday Movie Picks!  It's the last February post, which means that it's the last chapter in the Valentine's Edition, and this one is a fun one.  The love triangle.  These suck.

So, I've been in my fare share of love triangles.  I always seem to be the one who takes it the hardest, too.  Of course, I am partial to my own feelings, so maybe I'm looking at the whole thing a little askew.  Now, I picked three movies that represent situations/triangles I've personally been in.  Since I present these choices in chronological order, they kind of run backwards in the order in which I personally experienced them, but whatever.

You get the drift.

The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)
So, I've said a few times here that there was a period of my life when I was separated from my wife.  It was such a strange feeling to be away from someone you spent years wishing you were away from only to realize in that moment that you...wanted to be with her.  Thankfully no one decided to try and sneak in while I was out of her picture, but the reality that it could happen, especially if we were estranged for long, loomed over a lot of my sleepless nights. 

Jules et Jim (Francois Truffaut, 1962)
This one is hard.  I don't like to talk about it much.  Friendships are great, but when they reach a point of comfort that betrays what a 'friend' is supposed to be...they aren't so great anymore.  Yes, I still love him. 

Heartbeats (Xavier Dolan, 2011)
So, when I was 15, I fell in love with a girl.  She was perfect.  She was funny and charming and so down to earth and absolutely beautiful.  In fact, I still love her, and I haven't seen her in 15 years.  You see, no sooner do I express my feelings to her she...winds up dating my best friend.  I wind up playing third wheel as I sit in the backseat and watch them be all happy and lovey and all over each other all the time.  Then she moved.  I was crushed.  I wrote her a letter...told her I loved her...told her I was holding onto what we could have.  I haven't talked to her since.  My heart, honestly, is still a little broken.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesday Tunes Tastings

Last week I actually got to a lot more albums than I thought I would, and so we have quite a few to talk about today.  

Let's get right into it!

Monday, February 22, 2016

A Fistful of Thoughts...about Irish queens, unwanted sequels and 'white face'!

Alright, so this week is a pretty easy one to discuss.  It's pretty much a collection of "would you watch it?", "why are they making this?", "how can you defend this?" and "are we ok with this?" with a tagged on spectacle of Oscar f*ckery!

So let's talk.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Valentine's Edition, Pt. 3

It's Thursday, and so it's time for more Thursday Movie Picks.  It's still February, so that means that we are still maintaining our Valentine's Day theme, and this week we're talking about confessions or declarations of love.  We've all seen them, those monologues where the main character (and sometimes not so main character) just lays it all out on the line.  Sometimes it's long and elaborate.  Other times it's short and sweet.  Sometimes it's full of blistering passion, sometimes it's angry passion, frustrated passion, lustful passion...other times it's soft, tempered, comforting.  Sometimes it's absolutely broken.  

This week, I tried to find a little of each...and I found clips!

10 Things I Hate About You (Gil Junger, 1999)
I've said it here before and I'll say it a million times more, 10 Things I Hate About You is the most perfect teen movie ever made.  Going even further, it's one of the best Shakespeare adaptations ever made.  Going even further, it's one of the best ensembles of the 90's.  Like, I'm not joking here; it's a wonderful, wonderful movie.  Now, to the scene at hand...the closing poem.  MY GOD...the heartbreak.  Why Julia Styles didn't become a HUGE star after this is beyond me.  Her performance is absolute perfection.  She nails all of the caulloused layers here to create a young girl turned off by the world around her, blossomed under the tropes of love and then destroyed when that love broke all her walls down.  This moment is perfection.

And here it is:

Love, Actually (Richard Curtis, 2003)
I love this movie.  It has many, many detractors, but I find this so clever and charming and fun and so I endlessly recommend this because haters just need to suck it.  Now, when it comes to declarations of love, I don't think there is any as sweet, charming and perfect as this one.  In fact, I'm a dude and I'd swoon for this.  Just...just watch it.

Good Christ, I'm crying.

Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)
And now we come to that declaration so full of passion it's angry.  Brokeback Mountain, as a film, is full of passion, even when it's at it's most passive, because it understands that deep down, passion is what makes this love so universally felt.  In this legendary moment, accompanied by that phrase we all can't help but repeat, that passion is FELT!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Acting Black Blogathon: Juanita Moore in Imitation of Life

When Wendell first announced that he was doing this blogathon, I immediately thought of Juanita Moore.  There was no hesitation.  It was really the blogathon's title that forced my mind in her direction more that anything else, but I'll get to that in a minute.

First, a brief rundown of the rules:
1a. Create a new post about a great movie performance by a Black actor or actress. Tell us why you love it. Or…
1b. Create a new post about a Black actor or actress. Discuss that person’s body of cinematic work to demonstrate why they’re great.
2. Within your post, link back to this one.
3. Either use one of the snazzy banners I’ve created or one you’ve made on your own. If your make your own just include the pertinent information (my blog title, the name of the blogathon and the dates).
4. Publish your post from February 15 through February 17, 2016 and submit a link to it in one of the three ways listed above.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday Tunes Tastings

So, last week there were quite a few albums dropped that I, personally, didn't want to listen to.  I tried, but I couldn't do it and so, at the end of the day, I've only got reviews for four albums.

Sad, I know.

The saddest part is that I didn't really love any of the four.  I liked a few, hated one, but never really loved anything.  Alas, it was bound to happen eventually.

[NOTE: I did try and listen to Kanye's new album.  In fact, I was going to purchase it off of his website, but when I went there the screen was black and I had to listen to some senseless rambling from the artist formally known as Mos Def and after ten minutes of him talking and no possible way to navigate away from the screen, I gave up.]

Here we go.

Monday, February 15, 2016

A Fistful of Thoughts...about 'catty' celebrities, fake-a** thank yous and more awards for black people!

Last week was...busy.  I feel like I'm saying that every Monday, but good god, I'm tired.  Last week was also kind of epic with news, between surprising film adaptation news, grand Broadway news, biting gossip and more #OscarsSoWhite.  I have to cut out some since I try and focus on a mere 'fistful' of topics, but some are sort of interrelated, so let's have at it!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Valentine's Edition, Pt. 2

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for the second entree in the Valentine's Edition of Thursday Movie Picks!  This week, for me, was the hardest so far of this year's themes to narrow down, as I had a slew of films I wanted to mention here.  For one reason or another, these three stood out to me (actually, they all stand out because of their tremendous Lead Actresses anchoring the films in such brilliantly complex ways) and so here we are with my picks for the week.  


Love in the Afternoon (Billy Wilder, 1957)
By this time in her career, Audrey Hepburn was already an Oscar winner for her breakout role in Roman Holiday, but for me this is the moment where her star truly shines for the first time in her career (a career that I adore) and should have been the moment that Oscar knocked on her door because as the blossoming Ariane, Hepburn is spectacular.  She charms, delights and then ultimately crafts such texture around this young woman falling in love, finding her own and becoming a woman.  It's a shame her costar is as wooden as a 2x4.  How in the world can you be that stiff around such elegance? 

Limelight (Charlie Chaplin, 1952 1972)
The love that blossoms between the aged Calvero and the stunning Thereza is so beautiful to watch because it never once feels forced or disingenuous.  Thereza's adoration of her teacher, his strengths, modesty and talent is so obvious, but it is his inner person that draws her so close to him, even when he pushes her away (all for her benefit and happiness) that you can't help but break for them, ache for them and ultimately fall in love with them! 

The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008)
Ef you all, I love this movie.  I love this story.  I sob...SOB!!!  And yes, Hanna does some terrible things, not the least of which includes preying on a 15 year old boy and MURDERING a bunch of people, but her inner person is so conflicted and shocking human that you can't help (or at least I can't) help but sympathize with her and pray for her happiness, her peace.  Balk all you want, but I buy this love, start to finish.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trailer + Poster Break: A Bigger Splash

Have you seen this?  I admit, I haven't been following much on this one, even though there has been lots of talk about it since early last year.  Guadagnino's I Am Love is one of those films I'm constantly telling myself I need to revisit, simply because the reasons I told myself I didn't like it are reasons I'm pretty sure I'd love it upon a revisit, and this trailer is so melodramatically beautiful, I'm convinced it could be one of the best films of the year.  This trailer is so damned sexy!  Everything about this film is dripping with sexual intensity and a vibrancy I wasn't expecting.

And have you seen these?

The 1958 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged by Clicking on Them]

1958.  This is such a weird year for me, because as much as I love musicals...I kind of hate Gigi, this years Best Picture Oscar winner.  You wouldn't know that by all the nominations/wins that it racked up here at the Fisti Awards, but the fact remains that the film is gorgeously mounted and a technical's just vapid and stupid and offensive and boring.  You know what isn't vapid, offensive, stupid or boring?  Hitchcock's masterpiece...Malle's debut...Le Chanois's opus...Brook's sultry take on Tennessee Williams...Wajda's political message film...the list goes on and on.

This was a year that I had some issues with exploring.  Certain Oscar films were not readily available for me, so films like The Defiant Ones, The Old Man and the Sea and The Brothers Karamazov went unseen by me.  To be honest, I'm not really sure they would have had any impact on these ballots.

I did see a lot, so with that thought in mind, I present to you the Fisti Awards of 1958!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tuesday Tunes Tastings

So, one month is officially done and over with and that means that I've listened to and reviewed 32 albums so far.  I've actually listened to a few more, but I didn't get them reviewed because I listened to them after I posted that week's 'tasting'.  I hope you guys are enjoying this new series.  I've enjoyed putting them together, even if trying to listen to all this new music is, at times, overwhelming.  

Now it's February, and that means a new crop of artists are going to be blessing us with their music.  This week I got to 6 albums.  I wanted to get to more, but time got away from me...and one album in particular fascinated me to such a degree that I listened to it quite a few times, taking away from the time I could have spent listening to something else.

I'll admit, this week started off rough.  The first album I tried listening to was Wiz Khalifa's new album...but two songs in I couldn't take it any more.  I thought I was a fan or something or I don't know, I knew the name and had heard him on other tracks and just assumed I would be into this, but yuck.

Thankfully the week got better, mostly.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Fistful of Thoughts...about doubling up, moving on and kicking the bucket!

Happy Monday everyone!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  It's time for A Fistful of Thoughts, which I'm shamefully throwing together this morning.  This weekend has been BUSY, and no, it's not because of a certain football game that I didn't bother to watch.

Who won?

I'm not really interested, to be honest.  You know what I did last night...I watched Indiscreet, a little rom/com gem from the 50's starring two of my favorites, Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant.  I think I made out all right.

But that's not what we're here to talk about.

Friday, February 5, 2016

2014 Mouthi Awards Ceremony

The ceremony for the 2014 Mouthi Awards took place in San Antonio, TX at the Tobin Center for Performing Arts on December 31st, 2014 at 8:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time.  Due to technical difficulties, it was not available for widespread presentation until now.

It was hosted by international musical sensation, Celine Dion.

Here are the highlights:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Thursday Movie Picks: Valentine's Edition, Pt. 1

It's a new month, which brings us to a new Thursday, and that means it's time for Thursday Movie Picks!  This whole month has it's own sub-theme; Valentine's!  So, first up is the Star-Crossed Lovers portion of the month, and as we all know, star-crossed lovers are lovers doomed to experience an end to their relationship, whether it be in death or in the terrible fact that they just cannot be together.  So, I decided to go with three sets of doomed relationships that were doomed because of the terrible world in which we live.

Atonement (Joe Wright, 2007)
So a few things here.  We've heard the whole 'poor boy loves rich girl and society won't allow their happiness' routine before.  Seen it a thousand times.  We've seen it end well, and we've seen it end in tragedy.  But, this love story doesn't end because of society, because I have a strong feeling that, left alone, these two would have lived forever in each other's arms.  No, this relationship died due to a little girl and a lie and that lie spread so sharply through this family that it caused the unthinkable and the unspeakable and next thing you know, next thing you feel, is the sharpest pangs of love lost; forever.

Wuthering Heights (Andrea Arnold, 2012)
Here we go again with the societal 'poor boy loves rich girl' route, but what makes Andrea Arnold's art-house rendition of this classic tale especially profound is the race card thrown in.  By making our lead African America, the game is changed and the tale is much deeper in its depiction of the doomed love between these two 'adopted' siblings. 

Her (Spike Jonze, 2013)
UGH, has there been a more romantic pairing in recent years?  I think not.  These two were perfect for each other, and I think the pain we feel when they no longer are together is felt so strongly because of the realization that we all want this kind of love; this kind of companionship.  Here though, the relationship is doomed from the start because these two worlds just cannot share that kind of space and in the end, more is needed to sustain a relationship.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tuesday Tunes Tastings

So, this week I didn't get to a lot of new music.  My week has been kind of hectic (and this week is looking even busier), but what I did get to was rather incredible, and there is one album in particular that is so good it rests firmly at the top of my list for Best of January and could very well be the Album of the Year, like, for real!

Yes,'s time for Tuesday Tunes Tastings!

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Fistful of Thoughts...about the twelve actresses who should have Meryl Streep's Oscar!

So, over the weekend I binge watched the first two seasons of Broadchurch (more on that on a later date) and it reminded me of something I am constantly going back to...Olivia Colman's tremendous performance in Tyrannosaur.  It was this reminder that inspired my Fistful of Thoughts today.  Now I've already posted my personal awards for 2011, but there is one category that I continually revisit in my mind and reshuffle and desire to completely revamp, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.  Of any year this decade so far, 2011 boasts the strongest array of Lead Actresses and presents me with the hardest time narrowing it all down.  That isn't to discredit other years, and I'm usually always resting on a #6 and #7 place contender that I wish I could also nominate, but 2011 leaves me with a top twelve that I completely, wholeheartedly, ADORE.

What is so weird is that, of those 12...only one of them is an Oscar nominee, and the other 4 Oscar nominated performances, only one of them is really all that wonderful, and she's arguably in the wrong category.  The winner is messy and undeserving to the hilt, but in that ballot it almost makes sense.

Oscar dropped the ball SO HARD this year.

So today, I want to pay much respect to all actresses/performances in my Top 12.