Looking Back: 10 Movies That Shaped Me in the Last Decade

One of the hardest things for me, even after blogging for close to 10 years, is listing things. Listing movies in a particular order, naming favourite TV shows, putting performances in a certain row – just any kind of list and I’m hyperventilating. So instead I’m deluding the pressure by creating a non-list list. In other words, I’m going to talk about 10 movies that shaped me in the past 10 years. It’s a tribute to the movies that left an impression on me. Not necessarily about listing the best movies nor even the absolute favourites. It’s about 10 movies that changed me or gave me something to think about. Movies that pushed me or challenged me, that shaped me into the person I am today. Movies that, for better or worse, will stay with me forever.

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TDL’s Alphabet Movie Meme

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So Monday was the big day, I had a big Christmas party at work and the Breaking Emotions Blogathon closed up. To be honest, the blogathon participation was better than I expected but I must have underestimated the commitment of blogging since I myself have somehow fallen into the trap of struggling to find time to write blog posts. That being said, I figured what better way to say farewell to a blogathon than to take part in an Alphabet Movie Meme by Katy from The Drama Lama.

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400th blog post celebration

400 might not be an important number to some but for me it actually is somewhat special. I have been waiting for it for quite some time now actually, the big round number of 400. Seeing the number getting closer and closer just made me realize that I’m almost at 500, then, soon I will be a 1000 and then.. I don’t know. Okay, I might me exaggerating because getting to 400 has taken me almost three years. On this rate, it will take me forever to get there but I’m ready for the ride, it’s been so fun so far! As the number got closer, I thought why not celebrate it with something special since I haven’t done it with my other hundred posts. Plus, I had a lot of time with all my school work, deadlines, additional obligations and an up-coming trip… Kidding but I still had a lot of fun putting the alphabet together, had some issues with couple of letters because some didn’t have enough options, some had too many. To be fair, a lot of my favorites were left out but overall, I think it worked out well. It consists of movies, directors, actors and actresses who’s lives revolve around movies.

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# 198 – Leonardo DiCaprio (actor special)

I have now decided to pay much more time on categories that are rather lonely and since Actor/Actress category should be (by now) among the biggest categories in my blog I’m taking it very seriously from now on. The first actor special post was dedicated to Heath Ledger because he is and always will be my favorite. The second, as you already saw, is Leonardo DiCaprio because it seems that he can’t do wrong in my book as well.

DiCaprio started out from an early age being in TV-series and movies throughout his teenage years opposite to some of Hollywood’s greatest names like Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep. Then came James Cameron’s Titanic and after that, well you know what happened – DiCaprio hit the jackpot. It seems that this charming and hardworking Hollywood leading drama actors picks his roles very carefully and then acts them with precision and utmost respect because all of his movies are well-respected. (Not gonna do summaries of all the movies, although I’ve seen most of them.)

This Boy’s Life (1993)

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

This is the contemporary version of the most famous and ever-lasting love story between Romeo and Juliet – I say contemporary because I feel like it is the best word to describe this movie. I just remember its collision between the urban world and the fact that the dialog was kept like it was originally – did it felt weird? Yes it did, I don’t remember feeling comfortable with this movie at all but maybe it was my young age and naive thought that every romantic movie should be easy to follow.

Titanic (1997)

I still remember that this was literally the first time I went to the cinema to watch a movie (I think that 101 Dalmatians doesn’t count – it is a cartoon) and while I was quite young I cried like I knew something about love and stuff. Well, Titanic does that to you, you cry because Rose doesn’t let Jack onto the door (or what ever) that is big enough for two of them (kind of) and he then drowns – you cry because you feel like it’s unfair that the hot guy has to die and the woman survives. Or you might cry because other people died as well.

The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)

The Beach (2000)

Gangs of New York (2002)

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

This is one of my favorite DiCaprio movies because it isn’t too serious (which he is especially good at) but it has a slight humor to it. Together with Tom Hanks they portray a true story about Frank (DiCaprio) who by the time he is 19 becomes a millionaire – and not by doing honest work. DiCaprio is a young man who is a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer and the whole movie evolves and progresses through out his lies while Carl (Hanks) is trying to catch him. Watched it at least three times and would be happy to watch it again – brilliant.

The Aviator (2004)

The Departed (2006)

These are the type of movies that I think are just exactly what DiCaprio is good at – serious, thrilling and utmost interesting to watch. The chemistry between DiCaprio and Matt Damon in this one is, as far as I remember, amazing to watch and you can’t do wrong when you are Martin Scorsese. It won an Oscar for the best movie of the year in 2007 and a nomination for DiCaprio and also Mark Whalberg. The cast is great, the story is captivating and the directing is something to inspire towards to.

Blood Diamond (2006)

Body of Lies (2008)

Revolutionary Road (2008)

Shutter Island (2010)

By now I think I’m writing summaries of those DiCaprio movies I’ve seen more than once and therefor Shutter Island is next. Another great collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio while the shaking line between reality and madness is played to its greater limit. DiCaprio is now a detective who investigates a mysterious escape out of a mental institution. Together with Mark Ruffalo as his partner they enter a visually stunning atmosphere (it’s the 50’s) – timeless and interesting to watch over and over again.

Inception (2010)

Don’t lie, you knew it was coming and why not? DiCaprio does leave his comfort-zone a bit, doing an action packed sci-fi movie but still gets a chance to add all that drama and bitterness he has brought to us for many years. I think that having the drama in it was the reason DiCaprio finally agreed to work with Christopher Nolan and along with Joesph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard,Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy this science fiction movie is much more than just the effects (also because Nolan does very little CGI).

Coming up:

J. Edgar (2011) – In October you get to see DiCaprio portray a FBI director. Directed by Clint Eastwood.

The Great Gatsby (2012)

Django Unchained (2012) – All I can say is that Quentin Tarantino is coming back with DiCaprio, Jackson, Foxx, Waltz and many others.

Short facts: (from IMDb)

Date of Birth

11 November 1974, Hollywood, California, USA

Birth Name

Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio

Nickname

Leo
Lenny D

Height

6′ (1.83 m)

Mini bio: (from Wikipedia)

DiCaprio, an only child, was born in Los Angeles, California. His German-born mother, Irmelin (née Indenbirken), is a former legal secretary, and his father, George DiCaprio, is an underground comic artist and producer/distributor of comic books.[7] DiCaprio’s mother moved from Oer-Erkenschwick at the Ruhr, Germany, to the U.S. during the 1950s,[8] while DiCaprio’s father is a fourth-generation American of half south-Italian (from the Naples region) and half German descent (from Bavaria in southern Germany). DiCaprio’s career began with his appearance in several commercials and educational films. After being booted off the set of children’s television series Romper Room for being disruptive at the age of five,[16] DiCaprio followed his older stepbrother Adam Farrar into television commercials, landing an ad for Matchbox cars at 14.[16] In 1990, he got his break on television when he was cast in the short-lived series based on the movie Parenthood. After Parenthood, DiCaprio had bit parts on several shows, including The New Lassie and Roseanne, as well as a brief stint on the soap opera Santa Barbara, playing the young Mason Capwell. His involvement in Parenthood and the daily soap earned him a nomination for the Young Artist Award for Best Young Actor each.

A committed environmentalist, DiCaprio has received praise from environmental groups for his activism.[4] In the past, he has opted to fly on commercial flights instead of chartering private jets, and it was reported that he drives a hybrid car and has solar panels installed on his house.[4] In an interview with Ukula about his 2007 film 11th Hour, DiCaprio cited global warming as “the number-one environmental challenge.”[84]

# 153 – 2011 Oscars

And here is the list just one more time, now with only the winners listed! PS: Congrats to The King’s Speech and Colin Firth !

Best Motion Picture of the Year

The King’s Speech (2010): Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin – FAV (I listed this as my favorite from all the nominees – well done, me).


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Colin Firth for The King’s Speech (2010) FAV (Same thing with Colin, YAY! for Colin, I knew he’ll get this one!)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Natalie Portman for Black Swan (2010) FAV (I think this was too obvious to be even a surprise, it was just – ahah, I knew it, blah).

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale for The Fighter (2010) (Wasn’t my FAV for a reason, I haven’t watched this movie yet – it’s next on my list..)

 

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Melissa Leo for The Fighter (2010) (Same story as with previous winner, Christian Bale..)

 

Best Achievement in Directing

Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech (2010) (I gave this to The Social Network since I tried to even the playing field, TKS gets the best movie, TSN gets the director.. Academy Awards apparently don’t fallow the rules that way.)

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

The King’s Speech (2010): David Seidler FAV (I like when I’m right and with TKS I’m almost always right it seems..)

 

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

The Social Network (2010): Aaron Sorkin FAV (Thank god it wasn’t in the same category as TKS, all else it would’ve been even harder to pick my favorite..)

 

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Toy Story 3 (2010): Lee Unkrich  (Haven’t seen it.. don’t intend to watch it either, sorry Toy Story..)

 

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Hævnen (2010): Susanne Bier(Denmark) (No comments.. god, I should really pay more attention to European films..)

 

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Inception (2010): Wally Pfister (Wasn’t my favorite but at least Inception got something for it’s visuals…)

Best Achievement in Editing

The Social Network (2010): Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall FAV (I was right again…)

 

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Alice in Wonderland (2010): Robert Stromberg, Karen O’Hara (Wow, it got an award for something. Not the best from Tim Burton though!)

 

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Alice in Wonderland (2010): Colleen Atwood (Another one, apparently the art and costumes were the best.. while of course other nominees didn’t have that kid of imagination in hand – Wonderland pretty much can be everything and anything.)

 

Best Achievement in Makeup

The Wolfman (2010): Rick Baker, Dave Elsey (Same thing as with Alice in Wonderland I think.. Making a man into a wolf pretty much sets the bar high.)

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

The Social Network (2010): Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross (I had my finger crossed for Zimmer cause I like his work but TSN deserves it also.)

 

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Toy Story 3 (2010): Randy Newman(“We Belong Together”) (Me and this song don’t belong together, haven’t even heard it…)

 

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Inception (2010): Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick FAV (If Zimmer doesn’t get an award, the sound mixers get it – yay for them!)

 

Best Achievement in Sound Editing

Inception (2010): Richard King FAV (The sound is all about Inception this year, great!)

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Inception (2010): Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin FAV (So visuals and the sounds were perfection in Inception.. end of story!)

Best Documentary, Features

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Best Short Film, Animated

Best Short Film, Live Action

The Confession (2010/IV): Tanel Toom (This is an Estonian!! Like, yay – too bad he didn’t win, but I’m gonna list him anyway cause I can do what ever I want.)

God of Love (2010): Luke Matheny – winner.

# 142 – Oscar nominations

Another year of movies has passed and after the Golden Globes there is only one big event that puts an end to it all (meaning the last year): The Academy Awards – Oscars. And since I did a post about the Golden Globes I felt that I had to do one about the Oscars as well. Now, I am not gonna predict anything, because my taste is pretty shaky lately due to my school work which would be officially over tomorrow – but I am gonna mention my favorites ( by adding a FAV behind it) from the categories in case I’ve seen most of the nominations. Anyway, here it is – Road to the Oscars 2011:

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Best Achievement in Directing

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Nominees:

Kynodontas (2009): Giorgos Lanthimos(Greece)

Hævnen (2010): Susanne Bier(Denmark)

Incendies (2010): Denis Villeneuve(Canada)

Hors-la-loi (2010): Rachid Bouchareb(Algeria)

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Best Achievement in Editing

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Nominees:

127 Hours (2010): A.R. Rahman, Rollo Armstrong, Dido(“If I Rise”)

Country Strong (2010): Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges(“Coming Home”)

Tangled (2010): Alan Menken, Glenn Slater(“I See the Light”)

Toy Story 3 (2010): Randy Newman(“We Belong Together”)

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Best Short Film, Live Action

Nominees:

Wish 143 (2009): Ian Barnes, Samantha Waite

 

Wow, if you didn’t do the counting, I’ll do it for you – the most nominations this year went to The King’s Speech (review coming soon) – a total of 12 nominations! My favorite number by the way. So I guess the question now is, how many it will actually get…

 

# 69 – Inception

“Dreams feel real while we’re in them.  It’s only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange.” – Dom Cobb

After watching Nolan’s newest master-piece I looked up some of the reviews just to get an idea how to build up my review about it. I didn’t want to praise like any other commenter would do and call Nolan a genius based on my subjective opinion – I wanted to have a basis for this post: negative reviews for Inception.

Not all reviewers, however, were so positive about the film. New York magazine’s David Edelstein was reported to “have no idea what so many people are raving about. It’s as if someone went into their heads while they were sleeping and planted the idea that Inception is a visionary masterpiece and—hold on … Whoa! I think I get it. The movie is a metaphor for the power of delusional hype—a metaphor for itself.”[70] Rex Reed of The New York Observer explained the film’s development as “pretty much what we’ve come to expect from summer movies in general and Christopher Nolan movies in particular … [it] doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment to me.”[71] A.O. Scott of The New York Times commented “there is a lot to see in Inception, there is nothing that counts as genuine vision. Mr. Nolan’s idea of the mind is too literal, too logical, too rule-bound to allow the full measure of madness.” – Wikipedia

I’m not saying they are wrong, in their minds they might be even right, I’m just stating that you might be looking at the picture from the wrong angle. David Edelstein says that Inception is a “metaphor for the power of delusional hype” – saying that after The Dark Knight everybody were waiting for greatness and got that from Inception because they were delusional enough to think that it was good. At least this is what I get from that thought Edelstein said – butlet’s look at this from a different angle. Nolan’s Inception planted an idea into our heads – an idea that made us think that the movie was good – a movie that is able to plant an idea into our heads can’t be a bad movie. Good movies are those that get stuck in our heads and I’m a big fan of the “great story-line” movie which doesn’t have to be logical but which is written to be logical. I thought Inception did a fine job with it and if it did plant the excitement into my head – I don’t mind.

Rex Reed (who to me based on the reviews he has written and I read – seems to be as bitter about everything that I am about romantic comedies) said that “Inception was pretty much what we’ve come to expect from summer movies in general and Nolan movies in particular.” Question, what summer movies is he talking about? I haven’t seen those, I must have missed something. And about the thing, expecting “that” from Nolan – how is not disappointing the viewers by making another good movie bad? They make bad romantic comedies that people are expecting to be bad and worse and that is bad? Making a good movie after a good movie isn’t something to whine about – Nolan delivers what is expected from him – greatnes.

A.O. Scott comments about logic in the movie. “Too logical”. This is the part where I laughed because I have been questioning the logic in so many movies lately and Inception was just so well logically built that it made me smile and Scott is saying that this is a bad thing. Hollywood has this common mistake writing blockbusters – they have the idea, but they don’t have the logical sequence behind the idea. Things happen without reason, especially when a character does something out of his characteristics – the story isn’t built on a story but on the action. The character goes there because the action tells him to – he goes and I think: “what’s his reason behind this?” Inception had that covered – there were no loopholes of logic, it moved like a well oiled machine and since so many movies fail to do that I think the “too logical” thing, was rude.

Anyhow, this is my answer to those negative comments. I’m not gonna add the positive ones because there are too many of those – IMDb states that Inception is already #4 in the greatest movie list! People like the movie and I think the thing that they like is the three things I mentioned before, Inception:

1) gets into our heads and plays with our thought by making us think about the movie after we’ve seen it.

2) is another well delivered movie by Nolan who jet again proves to us that he is one of the greatest in Hollywood.

3) has logic – it’s story is well written and the action is arranged in a way that it doesn’t get out of line while the story is deep enough to keep us interested.

I read that Nolan has been wanting to do a movie with DiCaprio for a long time and he didn’t like the scripts Nolan offered him before Inception came along. DiCaprio ,who has done movies like The Departed and Shutter Island is well known for his great acting skill, doesn’t fail to deliver in Inception. Also, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, my latest favorite is also giving a performance of a life time running in a hallway that has no gravity fighting a bad guy! (Scene that had a actual hallway that turned 360 degrees – Nolan is well known for not using too much visual efects! Another reason why Inception is good – the visual is realistic.)  So – acting good, storyline good, director good, visual images good – movie good! And the fact that I want to see it again and would be willing to pay for it again is just a little proof of the fact that 5 out of 5 stars is an understatement to this movie.