Monday, January 4, 2010

Movie Listing (2003)

Ipanema is a hell of a beach. Literally. It's hell, specially on weekends. God forbid I ever come back there on a Saturday...
2003, first year of college - and one of the best years of my life (so far). A great, great movie year as well:

My favorite movies of 2003:
 The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King: directed by Peter Jackson, starring Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen and co. The stakes now are unbelievably high - it's all or nothing now. Peter Jackson makes this movie larger than life, bringing battles and emotions to screen with artistry; all the actors are brilliant as well, specially Mortensen and Wood. (Many pple have complained that Frodo became annoying and whiny as the movies went on. Yeah, well, try to carry the destiny of the world in the form of a ring with will of its own, while all the forces of Evil are after your ass - let's see how you're gonna cope with that! Wood did an excellent job.) Also, all the kudos to Andy Serkis as Gollum, are you kidding me? Freaking perfect. As for the ending, hehe, I agree that the film keeps on ending and ending - and it takes a long time to actually end! But after all those huge battles and tense moments, I think we needed those lingering final minutes. AND, one of the best scenes ever, that always makes me burst into tears: Aragorn's coronation. He's walking deown the aisle (or whatever) and... he sees the hobbits. Since he's the King of Men, they start bowing to him. But Aragorn stops them, and visibly moved (Mortensen had it in his eyes!), he says: "My friends, you bow to no one." and bows to them - and so does the entire kingdom of Gondor. A river, every time. Jackson waited and waited - he wouldn't get any Oscar before the final movie, we all knew that. (yeah, LOR got make-up, costumes, original score... I'm talking the big ones: best movie, best actors, best  adapted screenplay... I'm talking breaking records). The final  chapter would take the awards for all three, or nothing at all. Like I said, the stakes were high: all or nothing. It got 11 Oscars - and deserved every single one of them. The only downside of this movie is that it makes you realize there won't be any other LOR movies...

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: directed by Gore Verbinski, starring Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley and Geoffrey Rush. And as one fantastic trilogy ends, another begins. Ok, it wasn't meant to be a trilogy at first, but anyway. Well, what can I say? I'm a sucker for Johnny Depp, I love Bloom and Knightley, and Geoffrey Rush is simply great in every role he plays. He plays to perfection the typical pirate we imagine when we read pirate stories. And Depp is a freaking genius playing Jack Sparrow, period. The plot seems simple at first, but it doesn't take you very long to realize it isn't just the white bread "good boy joins forces with not-as-bad-as-he-seems-outlaw to rescue damsel in distress". No, no. It's basically "every man for himself, and the devil take the hindmost"! Every character, even the holier-than-thou Will Turner (Bloom), has a hidden agenda, and none of them hesitate to stab a partner in the back to get what they want. They're downright pirates! Jaw-dropping movie, for sure.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: directed by Donald Petrie, starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. One of my fave chick flicks! Nothing too original to it, but it doesn't matter. We all know how romantic comedies end anyway. The leading characters are really charismatic, and the chemistry between Hudson and McConaughey is just right. It's full of cuter-than-ever moments, intertwined with LOL moments.You just keep rooting for them not to find out about each other's real agenda - but you know they will, cus it's a movie and all... The best parts are when Andie (Hudson) starts baby-talking to him, and acting all girlish-annoying! Naming his thing "Sophie"?? A killer.

The School of Rock: directed by Richard Linklater, starring Jack Black and Joan Cusack. Hehe! No one could've been casted as Dewey Finn other than Jack Black! The best comedy to come out that year, for sure. And another mandatory for rock fans. The whole plot is, of course, unbelievable - but, as I've said before, if you wanna see sheer reality, stay home. Black's enthusiasm for what he's doing is alarmingly contagious, and the kids are great! Joan Cusack, obviously, delivers and delivers - and then some. The fact that the whole thing is always on the edge of disaster keeps you on edge with them! Top it off with some great rock lessons and references, and you've got yourself a treat.

Kill Bill: vol.1: directed by Quentin Tarantino, the Great, starring Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah and David Carradine. My first Tarantino movie ever. At first I was like "yeah, cool... rather gruesome and over the top though, isn't it?". But then it slowly sinked in: it was supposed to be gruesome and over the top. Then I found out that was his thing: gore. And as I re-watched it, it grew on me immensely: the smart hilarious dialogs, the ever-flowing fake blood, flying limbs and cheesy violence. The camera angles are awesome, just as the soundtrack (as usual in his movies). The use of B&W photography and Japanese animation only add up to what was already great. Besides, great homage to the Kung-Fu movies from the 70's! Thurman was, btw, brilliant! Tarantino's fascination for her is more than justifiable. Liu was a great surprise for me, she really outdid herself this time. That woman was fierce! And the end? Ha! Talk about cliffhanger! "One more thing, Sofie... is she aware her daughter is still alive?" Holy crap! Right there with "Luke, I'm your father"! Mind-blowing.

Love Actually: directed by Richard Curtis, starring Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, and soooo many others... not to mention our own Rodrigo Santoro. With actual lines and all! A Christmas must. Delicate, sensitive and beautiful. 8 story-lines that end up intertwined, depicting all kinds of love, and showing that love does crop up in the most unexpected places. If some of the stories have a romantic happy ending, a couple are bittersweet - as only love can be. And Hugh Grant, as Prime-Minister, dancing? LOL. The old rockstar Billy Mack (Nighy) and his manager (Gregor Fisher) are a pleasant surprise by the end, and Liam Neeson and his stepson Sam (Thomas Sangster) are undescribably touching... Gorgeous.

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas: directed by Patrick Gilmore and Tim Johnson, starring Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michelle Pfeiffer (voices). I was gonna talk about Finding Nemo and include this one in the "worthy of notice" list. But let's face it: everyone knows Finding Nemo is great and just adooooorable! Whereas I feel Sinbad was much too underrated. Sinbad is, make no mistake, the dream of every girl: handsome, charming, a smooth-talker, adventurous, and not worth a penny! His best friend Proteus (Joseph Fiennes) manages not to come off as a push-over but as a total dear, and Marina (Zeta-Jones) is, against all odds, charismatic (female protagonists are rarely charismatic, with few exceptions). Pfeiffer brings the right tone for the villainess Eris and is seductively dangerous, just as it should be. The story is very much enticing and the dialogs hilarious! I still can't get over some of Sinbad's lines: "Who's bad? Sinbad!"; "She couldn't see the bird? Everyone else saw it. It's as big as the freaking ship! Marina? Marina is looking the other way..."; to his quartermaster, bare-chested in the cold: "Put a shirt on before you poke someone's eye out!". You gotta love this movie!

Others worthy of notice that year:
The Last Samurai, Finding Nemo, Under the Tuscan Sun. Awesome, adorable, inspiring.

What I regret having watched in 2003:
 Intolerable Cruelty: I'm very sad two actors I love, Catherine Zeta-Jones and George Clooney, were part of it. I really am. If they needed the money so much, they could've just gotten a loan or something. Hope I never get to see it again. 

Charlie's angels: Full Throttle: depressingly bad. Everything. The "funny scenes" were not funny, the "action scenes" were ridiculous, the acting was awful (well, poor actors, they gotta make do with what is given to them...), and the story was just... well, I was rendered speechless, as Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory, cus I'm a full-fledged nerd) would put it... 

American Pie 3: sooooooo uncalled for.