Tag Archives: cillian murphy

The 5 Most Anticipated Movies of 2012 for Me

Here’s the list of my 5 most anticipated films in 2012. And yes, I know it’s March, but there weren’t many interesting films in this year so far (at least for me). So, here’s a quick list of stuff I’d really love to watch, for one reason or another. Some of these are films I hope to be great, and with others, I’m just curious to know how they turn out to be.

And before you ask about the Dark Knight Rising: no. Not my thing. Yes, I know Gary Oldman is in and all. Still no. Plus, the only other potentially interesting thing in this film for me (Tom Hardy’s luscious lips) will be covered by the mask, so, why bother? I would be awesome if Cilian Murphy had a cameo, though.

So, what about the stuff I do want to see? The best films in any given year are usually the ones I discover by an accident. Those that are highly anticipated often disappoint (due to high expectations, no doubt). Still, here’s a quick list of my most anticipated films (in order of the release date):

The Raven

This gothic tale about E.A. Poe (played by John Cusack) and murders inspired by his works is getting solid reviews and seems reasonably interesting, even if you’re not into this sort of things. Some people describe it as “Seven set in 19th century“, so this might go either horribly wrong or amazingly creepy – which, in context of the movie – is a good thing.

The REAL reason why it’s on my most anticipated movies list is that it’s filmed in Belgrade. That’s right, my hometown (and, as I can tell, Budapest) will serve as a 19th century Baltimore. Watching a film for catching all the locations and the way they’re used? It’s as good reason as any other.

Release date: April 27.
Chances that it will suck: 78%

All in Good Time

This is one of those small British films I love so much (and despite of what some may think, I don’t have ulterior motives for anticipating it). It’s a story about newlyweds (played by Amara Karan and Reece Ritchie) who can’t consummate their union because they have to stay with his family, which is, well, complicated. Not the best way to start your marriage, but it was a reality for many of us. The film is directed by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) and written by Ayub Khan-Din (the author of East Is East, which is one of the main motives to watch this one). Though the film’s journey is more complicated than this (adapted form a play that was adapted from another play).

As someone who never had her honeymoon and whose wedding night included a bunch of noisy neighbours and a snoring grandmother in the other room, yes, I can relate. Not to mention living with my family wasn’t particularly great either. Ok, I know there are a lot of differences (in culture and setting – we’re nor Indian nor British), and as much as it may seem like an interesting story from a, erm cultural POV, it’s not the main appeal, and I sure hope it’s not going to be made as such. (*cough* Orientalism *cough*)

Release date: May 11
Chances that it will suck: 35% (without Orientalism)

Brave

Brave is a new Pixar effort and their first fairy tale. Set in medieval Scotland (Braveheart references/vibe are, obviously, not completely unintentional), this is a tale of princess Merida, an archery master, and a horrible curse. According to the teasers, she will have to save the day. Merida is voiced by Kelly Macdonald, who is a good choice for the role (instead of Reese Witherspoon, who was – for some reason nobody can understand – the first choice for a role of a SCOTTISH princess).

I like Pixar’s films, and I like the vibe of this one, but one of the main reasons I’m intrigued to watch it is because people are so sure it will suck. Why? Because, according to many people, it just seems like a typical Disney movie and not like something Pixar would do. So they think it will be the first Pixar movie that sucked (what, wait, Cars didn’t suck?) So, naturally, I just have to watch this one and see for myself. I do hope they’ll bring a twist to the story. As much as I’m ok with fairy tales, I do want an original take on the story about a kick ass heroine.

Release date: June 22.
Chances that it will suck: 30%

Seven Psychopaths

Probably THE most anticipated film of 2012 for me, a new story by Martin McDonagh, the writer and director of In Bruges. As we all know, In Bruges kicked some serious ass and it was one of the best films of the decade. Seven Psychopaths reunites McDonagh and Colin Farrell, who plays a screenwriter struggling to write a script called, you’ll guess it: Seven Psychopaths. So, yeah.

The plot involves dog napping, Sam Rockwell as an actor without a job, Christopher Walken as another sidekick (or is he?) and Woody Harrelson as a crazy gangster who just wants his dog back. Doesn’t sound particularly exciting? Fear not, there’s more to it. As you probably guess, Seven Psychopaths from the title will appear in the film. With many meta references n’ stuff. I can’t describe how much I want this one to be good (and, obviously, how much I’d be disappointed if it turns out to be bad). Oh, well. There’s still fookin’ Bruges if that happens.

Release date: November 9.
Chances that it will suck: 15% (Unless they really screw this one, in which case: 85%)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I already said how I feel about this. I was never a big fan of the Hobbit, unlike LotR (which is one of my favourite books). At the same time, of course I want to watch it; no questions asked here. I hate the hype, but I do want to see Peter Jackson’s interpretation of the Hobbit. On one hand, there are some bad signs: according to the trailer, it is made to seem darker and more epic than the story requires. On the other: Martin Freeman.

Let me repeat this: Martin Freeman! The. Best. Possible. Bilbo. Ever. This man was born to play this role, and he knows it, and we know it and, thanks God, Peter Jackson knew it, too. This casting is so perfect on all possible levels that I’m ready to forgive Jackson some of the questionable casting decisions in the past. Martin Freeman as Bilbo is the best possible thing this movie could get, and he’s one of the main reasons I’m looking forward to this film.

Release date: December 14.
Chances it will suck: With Martin Freeman as Bilbo? No way.

PS- Who wants to bet I’ll remember another, and another, and yet another film I could put on this list as soon as I hit the “publish” button?

Jefflion.net Must-Reads

There’s a handy blog meme I’d like to use here. Tagged bloggers (or, self-tagged in my case) should identify and present posts on their blogs that fit certain types. I think the idea behind it is to promote your blogging and present some of the posts most of your visitors are unfamiliar with (be it because you wrote them a long time ago, or because they didn’t get the attention you feel they deserved).

It’s also a great way to think about your blogging in general, and see where you stand.

So, here’s where I stand: my early blogging (read: most of the things written in 2007, 2008 and, to a lesser extend, 2009) sucks. There’s no other way to put it. I had no idea what blogging was, or how to write a decent blog post – and it’s not because I’m untalented for writing. I guess I thought blogs were online diaries, and I was never good at writing a diary. Luckily, I realized blogging was different, and it made my posts better.

That’s why most of the posts presented in the meme are the newer ones, from 2010 and 2011.

Also, I’d like to use this opportunity to introduce some changes on the site. I added a new popular posts script, so you can find the most accurate and up to date list of most popular posts at the sidebar. Plus, I added the similar posts script that appears at the bottom of the each post, recommending you similar posts. Because it depends on the words I write, its choices might not be accurate, but so far I like the way it works, and I think it makes my posts more connected, which is a good thing. It can also make some of the older posts visible again. The only bad thing is that it also makes my early, random posts visible.

And now, the meme:

Most Beautiful Post

I think most of my reviews are beautiful, and I am quite proud of them. But I’d like to include another post here, because it is more personal than my usual posts.

Why I like(d) Disney movies

This post turned out to be more beautiful and more personal than I intended it to be. Who knew animated movies can have so much meaning, or to make you remember your childhood (and teenage years?)

I also thought the post might become controversial (because Disney movies deserve a lot of criticism), but that didn’t happen (not that I complain).

Most popular post

It’s definitely something about sex. Cliché or not, it does seem that sex and dating make very hot topics.

Women and casual sex

This is the most popular post on the site, and one of the few that get regular outside hits (which means search engines bring people here). The funny this is that it’s not a particularly good post: there are way too many things I mentioned here, but it’s not well structured and the thoughts are all over the place. I guess the main idea was that women often enjoy casual sex less than men not because their morality and sexuality are different, but because men don’t try to satisfy a woman they have a casual sex with.

Honourable mentions: A Long Penis Rant (once again, I wasn’t sure what was the main idea behind this post), Sunshine (my most commented post, though I’m not sure if it counts because half of it are pictures of Cillian Murphy and some heavy off topic discussion).

Most Helpful Post

Bad Writing Advice

I like this post because I’ve finally managed to formulate what I always found questionable about writing advice. I also discovered I love writing about writing (and my experience with it), so maybe I should consider doing more of those posts.

Honourable mentions: The best sites for bored people (check them out, especially tvtropes.org, which is probably one of my favourite sites on the whole net), Recover a (WordPress) site infected by a nasty iframe (this is an old entry. It worked back then; I am not sure if this advice is still applicable).

Post Whose Success Surprised Me

Things I don’t write about

I wrote this one to explain (mostly to myself) why I don’t like to write about certain sensitive/serious topics that I sometimes feel people expect me to write about. (Both in a blog and in novels). Some of these subjects include: Balkan wars and former Yugoslavia (or anything related to Easter Europe), my father’s death (and the problems I’ve had growing up without a father), etc. I don’t write about former because I am too sick of the subject, and I don’t feel any need to include it in my writing. I am aware that many people (both here and in the rest of the world) expect for someone in Serbia to deal with these issues in her writing (particularly when it comes to novels), but I just don’t find that topic inspiring. Same goes for my family. Some of the things I do find interesting and want to include, but the others aren’t something I want to write about.

I consider this to be a personal post, that wouldn’t make people interested. I was wrong. It turned out to be one of my most popular posts. I guess it’s because it’s more personal than the others. Some people said it made them learn more about me. I am glad, but I am still surprised this post gained such a popularity. (Plus, I had no idea my average reader didn’t have much chance to “meet” me or to learn anything about me and the type of a person I am).

Honourable mentions: Writing chapter titles (I wrote this for myself, to test what chapters of my novel “sound” in English. Who knew people were into that stuff), I’m a flexitarian (it was one of my first posts; it wasn’t much of a success, but it was my first post that got any sort of attention).

Most Controversial Post

The most controversial post I’ve ever written (American privilege) isn’t even on this site. I don’t think there are any controversial topics on Jefflion.net, but it’s not because I want to play it safe. I guess the blog isn’t popular enough to get many hits or commenters, because in order for something to be controversial, there have to be people who disagree with it or view things differently.

The only possibly controversial post is Kosovo independence, but it didn’t generate much buzz.

Post That Didn’t Get The Attention I Felt It Deserved

The Best Movies of the Decade I and The Best Movies of the Decade II

I really think it’s one of my best posts (and I find all of my review posts good). I’ve also taken some extra effort into making pictures to go with this post (and it was very time consuming to Google all the images, find the best ones, and then arrange everything in Photoshop). It’s not that I regret doing it, but I really wanted to discuss the best movies of the decade with my visitors, learn about their favourites and maybe get some good movie recommendations). (The offer is still good, btw).

Honourable mention: Writing Sex Scenes (I think this one is a very good post that deals with a legitimate problem in writing: how to make good, believable, non-cheesy/embarrassing/narmy/facepalm/wtf-was-the-writer-thinking sex scenes. I think it’s a well-written post, and people are usually interested in both sex and writing, so I was surprised it didn’t get much attention).

Post I’m Most Proud Of

A friend claims she’s proud of all of her posts (and I am happy for her), but I am sorry to say it doesn’t work the same for me. I am not proud of my blogging pre-2010 in general.

But there are some posts I am quite proud of. This goes, first and foremost, for my reviews (especially movie reviews). I link most of them at a separate page (Articles), along with some other stuff I’ve written (that I think deserve special attention).

Some other good posts:

Stereotypes About Americans

Women: How not to be seen as fully human

5 songs I like against all odds and 5 songs I dislike against all odds

Rules of a chick lit (and what can we learn from it)

PS- I’m supposed to tag five people to do this meme, but I think it’s too pushy. It’s better if people decide for themselves they want to do it. (And if you choose to do it, I’d love to see your list!)

The Best Movies of the Decade (Part II)

The top five. Somewhat easier to choose, but equally difficult to put in order. Except for the number one.

So far, we have:

10. Intermission (2003)
9. Children of Men (2006)
8. Atonement (2007)
7. 28 Days Later (2002)
6. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

The Best Movies of the Decade (Part I)

5. Gosford Park (2001)

It is, arguably, one of the best Altman films, and certainly my favourite. To say I liked the directing, the ensemble cast, the camera work, would be a waste of time, because these things go without saying. But there’s more to Gosford Park than the technical perfection, and those are the characters: every single one of them. And the story; it really makes you think about the fall of the high class back in those days.
Personal story: There isn’t a particularly personal story about this, except the fact I loved the way story unfolded. What secured this film in the top 5 was Helen Mirren in one of her last scenes (“my boy, my boy”). I remember watching the movie at night, and I had to jump and sit on my bed while watching it. One of those perfect, unique movie moments.

4. Breakfast on Pluto (2005)

This film is horribly underrated, and it’s a crime. I really don’t understand why: it’s simply amazing. I guess some people thought the world didn’t need another Neil Jordan’s story about IRA and transvestites. What a shame; Breakfast on Pluto is a gem. And the true heart of the movie is Kitten. She is such a lovable, amazing, complex character. Her world is unique, and so is her story. She’s one of those characters who simply make a story interesting, and also make you want to hug her and protect her.
Personal story: I got really attached to Kitten, and not just because I think she was an interesting character. To me, she was real. She reminds me a lot on my grandmother (not the part about transvestites, but the way a person deals with the problems). She had the same obsessively optimistic view of the world, as a way of surviving the reality. She was sometimes over the top, and it was often both tiring and annoying, but it’s not like I don’t understand how it happened. So it’s easy for me to understand Kitten.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

This movie is haunting and wonderful on so many levels. Too bad it suffers from some hype backlash. Ok, maybe it wasn’t the best film in cinematic history as some people claimed, but hey, I do find it to be excellent. It was sure a great cinematic experience for me. And I’m one of those people who dislike films dealing with male/female relationships. But this one took an unique approach to it, or managed to film it an an intriguing way. This film just takes you, and once you realize what’s going on, you are fascinated. Definitely one of the best movies of the decade.
Personal story: I remember watching this movie with my husband in 2005. It was winter and I felt really strange, everything around (the streets, the buildings) seemed so strange when we walked out. I like when a movie makes me think about it long after the credits.

2. All or Nothing (2002)

Mike Leigh is probably my favourite director. I like everything this man ever filmed. His movies are like no other. And while he had some strong movies this decade (Vera Drake, for example), All or Nothing is the one that had the most profound effect on me. Arguably, it’s not one of his best works, and in a way, it offers nothing new; and still, it’s perfect, perfect.

The story is simple (yet full of complexities), and the acting is superb. There’s no such thing as bad acting in any Mike Leigh’s films, but I really loved performances in this one. This especially goes for Timothy Spall and Lesley Manville. I think I’d say Lesley’s performance was one of the best female performances of the decade. The woman is such an amazing actress, one of the best I’ve seen, and she was so good in this. Such an underrated movie and an underrated performance. It’s a shame. The film is not an easy watch (it’s Mike Leigh after all), but it’s so good.
Personal story: Like I said, Mike Leigh. I love this man’s work. I love the way he deals with serious, difficult subjects, and still finds hope. Almost all of his films have this note at the end, something that gives you hope. All or Nothing is not an exception. It made me feel good, and I am still not sure how, given the serious nature of the film. That’s filmmaking.

1. Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)

Where do I start? How do I start? My love for this film is profound, and I don’t care about the hype, or the hype backlash. It’s one of my favourite movies, and the fact it’s a really good film is just one of the reasons. I like everything about it, its tone, its quirkiness, its characters, its atmosphere, its story. Everything.
Personal story: Like I said, I love everything about this film. But it’s my favourite movie of the decade because it gave me hope when I was so lonely, and it was something I really needed at the time.

The Best Movies of the Decade (Part I)

It was a so-so decade in the film world. There were some really quality movies, but a lots of crap, too. Many endless franchises and sequels. But it was also a decade of films that became one of my favourites.

Hey! Where’s (insert a popular film)?

You’ll notice there are no some popular favourites on this list. “Dark Knight”, for example, didn’t make it even to honourable mentions; I was simply not that impressed with it (it was good, but not that good). Some others do not appear on this list because I haven’t seen them (and this especially goes for Mike Leigh’s “Another Year”, which sounds like something I’d really like). Also, I didn’t include those that were good, but didn’t make a personal impact on me. So like with any other list, this is more of “my favourites” of the decade: those that made a lasting impression or have a personal meaning to me.

The list

Quick statistics reveal most of these films are not American (but they are all western; I hate the fact I’m not really familliar with non-western cinematography :( ). Sorry to say, there are no movies with Gary Oldman (who I really like, but not most of his films), but there are two starring Clive Owen and Kelly Macdonald, and even three movies with Cillian Murphy. Some of the films on the list, sadly, suffer from hype backlash, but I still like them and believe they’re great.

10. Intermission (2003)

It’s one of those stories about life, told in a complex, humorous way. There are around 10 interweaving stories, including, but not limited to: a guy who regrets breaking up with his girlfriend, but is too stupid to say so, lonely young men and middle aged women, a girl with a moustache, a dirty cop and a wild kid who just enjoys throwing rocks at vehicles. And it all works beautifully and without much, if any, pretentiousness. Also, the opening scene kicks ass.
Personal story: There’s something about Irish movies (and, in lack of a better term, Irish mentality) that I really like. Life and people seem pretty similar to those in my culture, but here I’m not emotionally involved and I’m able to distant myself enough to truly enjoy and appreciate a work of art.

9. Children of Men (2006)

Arguably, one of the best directed and visually stunning films of the decade. The only reason it’s made to the ninth place only is the fact there’s no strong personal story behind it, if you don’t count intellectual factor. In so many ways, this film is perfectly shot, and the vision of the future (if it’s future at all) is memorable. The directing is perfect: everything seems so realistic. So many unforgettable scenes, with car chase and murder being one of them, but my favourite is the one in which they take the baby out of a building and for the moment, fight and gunshots stop, and everything is silent, only to be resumed in the next second. Such a powerful movie.
Personal story: Not much of it, except the fact I like good dystopian films. What I loved about this one is the lack of excessive pathos and the way it all seemed so realistic.

8. Atonement (2007)

This movie had an extremely difficult task: to be a decent adaptation of one of the best novels of the decade (Ian McEwan’s story is amazing beyond words). In a way, the novel is un-adoptable, because of the nature of the material. Still, it was a very good adaptation, and even Keira Knightley was decent. No matter what some people say, the adaptation was quite good; Joe Wright is one of those directors who know how to read the source material and see what’s the most important and the best way to tell it. Still not as good as the book, of course, but quite good.
Personal story: “Atonement” is one of my favourite books, and it’s not something that can easily be adapted for the screen (due to the fact it’s a book about writing). Still, I liked the way they did it. Also, the film is visually beautiful and the acting is quite good.

7. 28 Days Later (2002)

For many people, the best thing about this film is the fact it redefined the zombie genre. But it’s not something I care about. Zombies are irrelevant; it is a film about human nature. I like everything about it: the story, the characters, the sloppy, at times amateurish-looking editing, the music. It also has a few incredibly memorable scenes: the haunting beginning in the deserted London, and the mansion scene in which Jim goes batshit crazy in rage.
Personal story: Like I said, I’m a sucker for good dystipian films, but there’s more. What I loved about this film is the fact it appeared to be about zombies, but it’s in fact about something else (human nature). It’s the point in which it totally blew me away. I still prefer the alternative ending, though.

6. The Triplets of Belleville (2003)

This was a decade of great animated movies, particularly the Pixar ones (Ratatouille being my favourite). But the best animated film of the decade is, hands down, The Triplets of Belleville (I haven’t seen Spirited Away, though). It’s a masterpiece. And it’s not just about the story itself or the animation. It’s the incredible atmosphere, so nostalgic and unique. And how did they manage to make a movie with almost no dialogues not boring or slow? A truly amazing film.
Personal story: There is a personal story behind it, about my husband and I watching this film for the first time (in early 2005).

Part two: Click.

Honourable mentions

Into the Wild, Sunshine, In Bruges, Ratatouille, Juno, Pride and Prejudice. (And probably so many I forgot to mention at the moment!)

The Best Movie Characters of the Decade

Remember I promised my “decade” posts? Well, it’s the end of December, so I guess it’s the right time for them. I guess most of them will be film related, not because I don’t read or listen music, but because the books I read and music I listen are, most of the time, created in the previous decades.

Oh, and btw, the decade started in 2001, so these all cover 2001-2010 period.

An important note: I put “the best” in title because it’s short… But it’s actually my favourite characters, regardless of their actual quality or the opinion other people have about them.

5. Joker

The best thing about “The Dark Knight” (and the only good thing about it, besides Gary Oldman with a mustache). And while a lot of the hype was generated after Ledger’s death, it would be unfair to say the character (or performance) didn’t deserve it. Joker was unique and a whole world for himself, and you could just feel there was always more about this character than meets the eye.

The best thing about him: The air of mystery, and the fact will probably never know the whole story, just add to the appeal.
The worse thing: While certainly memorable, one must admit part of the hype is due to Ledger’s death, so it’s impossible to determine exactly how much of an impact would character otherwise have.
Personal story: This is the only character on the list I don’t have a personal connection with; I put him solely because he’s really memorable on himself. The only thing I could share is the fact he made an otherwise overrated movie watchable for me.

4. Juno

What is great about Juno is that she is, obviously, not a realistic character… Yes she does seem like one. Sadly, there are not many female characters like her in media these days, particularly not those who encounter the problems she had in the movie. Juno has a perfect mix of a tomboyish charm and femininity.
The best thing about her: She is unique, and yet, it’s easy to identify with her.
The worst thing: Hype backlash. While Juno is certainly an adorable character, she is not as great as people claimed at one point.
Personal story: I admit it, one of the main reasons I like Juno is… She looks and acts like me. A lot. (Minus the teenage pregnancy thing). Some people don’t notice this, but it’s really rare to see a tomboy character who is, well, chose to how tomboy girls really are. So yes, you could say I got attached to the character a lot.

3. Jack Sparrow

Hands down, he’s my favourite male character of the decade. The fact he’s played by Johnny Depp (who I admired and… admired (if you know what I mean) for more than a decade). Jack Sparrow was so beautifully over the top and he stole the show in a second (remember, Pirates of the Caribbean were supposed to be all about Will and Elisabeth!)

The best thing about him: He made the world realize Johny Depp’s greatness. Way too much, perhaps. (To the point I miss his earlier, indie roles).
The worst thing: Lame sequels. The character got old fast.
Personal story: It was the summer of 2003 and I was really lonely. It sounds pretty lame, but Johnny Depp in heavy makeup sure made me feel a little better!

2. Kitten

A transgendered orphan on a search for mother, love and acceptance, who gets to meet many people (IRA members are just for start), but holds onto her unique world. It’s impossible not to like Kitten and hope she’ll be alright. Sometimes you cringe at her need to ignore the bad things, but at the end, you can’t help but liking her.

The best thing about her: Her innocence and optimism. Admittedly, sometimes it’s way too much, but you can’t help but like her and hope the things would eventually turn good for her.
The worst thing: Breakfast on Pluto was a fantastic film, but it wasn’t for everyone, so not many people got to see Kitten.
Personal story: I am really attached to this character because she reminds me of my grandmother (minus the transgender part). My grandmother had the same optimism, born out of despair. A lot of bad things happened to her (both of her sons died, for example), so she just learned to shut herself from the horrors around.

She was always smiling and talking about stuff such as clothes and makeup (she loved pink and funny music). It was annoying, this optimism of hers, because she was often blind to the real world around her, but it’s not like one fails to understand how she came to be like that. So it’s impossible to watch Kitten and not to see her in the character.

1. Amélie Poulain

My favourite character of the decade. I could dedicate several posts to her and the impact this movie had on me.
The best thing about her: She is unique, maybe even quirky, but it’s easy to relate to her.
The worst thing: Once again, the hype backlash. After the initial praise for the film and the character, people got a bit tired of Amélie. But it doesn’t mean she’s not a fantastic character.
Personal story: I’ve watched this film in 2002, during a lonely summer. Watching Amélie gave me so much hope. I’ve never seen a movie character so close to what I really was, whatever that meant. So Amélie has a special place in my heart.

Honorable mentions: Briony (Atonement), Sinéad (The Wind that Shakes the Barley), Gandalf (The Lord of the Rings), Sherlock Holmes, Snape (Harry Potter series).