Thanks Keith and The Movies for the Liebster Award 2012!

Thanks to Keith & The Movies for giving me a shout out!  So cool. I always enjoy visiting his site and find his 5 Phenomenal… series so much fun–they’re always creative and original.  I appreciate that he liked me enough to pass The Liebster Award to me.  Hope I can do it justice.  Here are the rules this time around:

  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
  5. Go to their page and tell them
  6. No tag backs.

So, 11 things about me–Oh my!  Here we go…

1.  I am a film geek.  Duh!  Films make me happy.  If I am stressed, sad or sick, watching a movie makes me feel better.  Actually, anytime movie-watching makes me feel better.  I also listen to film scores (soundtracks) all the time–love them!

2.  I have an ongoing love affair with Kermit the Frog (he’s my iphone cover) and all things Muppets.

3.  Gary Oldman is my ultimate crush.  He is amazing! **deep, dreamy sigh**

4.  My lovely daughter turns 21 in September.  Time is on warp speed and I am old.

5.  Cats are awesome!  I like all critters, but cats are my favorite.  I have 3 at the moment and I will probably end up as a crazy cat lady someday. :D

6.  I love nature and the ocean.  My full name, Nereida, is greek for sea nymphs and I believe it must be telling because the ocean is my affinity.

7.  I did not believe in fairy tale love, until I was proven wrong six years ago.  Now, I am in my own happily ever after. It does exist–who knew?

8.  I am a Law Enforcement Operator for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Never a dull moment…

9.  I am foodie. I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE food.  Dinner and a movie? Yes, please.  It is truly my favorite way to spend an evening.

10.  I have a fascination with vampires, but REAL vampires, that burn, disintegrate or explode in sunlight! (fyi..vampires DO NOT sparkle.) -_-

11.   BORIQUA!  I am Puerto Rican.  (Represent!)

And now, Keith’s questions….

1. What’s your biggest movie guilty pleasure (a movie you love so much even though you know it’s bad)?   Starship Troopers?  Reign of Fire?  Strange Days?  Oh, wait…those are AWESOME! :D

2. What actor or actress do you vehemently dislike and why? Katherine Heigl–do I need to explain??

3. What are your thoughts on the current 3-D craze?  I do not mind if it enhances the films presentation.  Sometimes it works–UP! and Avatar–and sometimes it doesn’t–Immortals–but most of the time I will watch movies in 2-D because I do not need the extra dimension. :)

4. What do you think was the best decade for movies and why?  I will have to say the 1980s with the 1990s a close second.  I am a child of the 80s and the movies of that decade created the film geek I am.  Blade Runner.  Predator.  Star Wars.  E.T.  Indiana Jones.  The Thing.  Ghostbusters.  Yeah, I can on and on.  It was a decade of original, creative filmmaking that is still being copied to this day.  Yet, the 90s had stellar films as well–but based on influence I will stick with the 1980s.

5.  What the scariest movie you have ever seen?  I do not scare easily–but the Sixth Sense stayed with me.  I would get chilly and then freak myself out, when I was alone.   I think because we all feel that sometimes, the film tapped into the fear. 

6.  Have you ever walked out on a bad movie at the theater? Which one and why?  I have to finish it.  If I paid money I will stick it out.  Plus, if it sucks…I want to say I saw ALL of it and can testify to it’s suckiness.  But, I seriously considered walking out of The Ugly Truth and When in Rome. Why? I have trouble with stupidity.

7. What are your aspirations for your movie blog?   I hope that people will seek out my opinion and that it will help them to make decisions about what they should watch or read.  Storytelling is my passion and it is awesome to write about it.  Honestly, I started my blog as an outlet and the sole purpose was to have fun with it.  So far, it has been a blast.  The fact that it has grown a little is a bonus.  

8. Siskel or Ebert? Why?  Ebert.  Siskel was always a bit too technical.  Ebert judges most films according to their genre–Siskel tended to be harsher on films in genres he did not like.  Not fair. 

9. Who is the most beautiful woman or most handsome man in movies? (Heavy stuff here!)   I think Mila Kunis is gorgeous!  And as far as male beauty–no one can be as pretty as Johnny Depp.  

10. Do you have any weird movie novelties or collectibles? If so, what are they?  Nope.  We collect film posters and I have a few muppets hanging around my house but, nothing weird.   

11.  Name three other movie blogs that you love to keep up with.  I have a few that I enjoy, but I can only pick 3? Okay.  3guys1movie–Fog’s Movie Reviews–and Keith & The Movies 

Now for my questions…

1.  What movie have you watched over and over?

2.  Who is your ultimate actor/actress crush?

3.  Which film trilogy do you consider to be perfect?

4.  What novel would you love to see made into a film?

5.  What actor/actress do you consider to be overrated?

6.  What famous/classic film have you never seen?

7.  Seinfeld or Friends?  Trust me, it says much about you. :) (I am Seinfeld all the way…)

8.  Name your favorite Super Hero and what super power would you want to have?

9.  Name your favorite muppet.  You have to have one–right?

10.  Vampires?  Yes or No.  If yes, what is your favorite film?

11.  If made into a movie…your life would fit under what genre?  Comedy? Action? Indie? etc…

Well, I think almost all the blogs I know have been given the Liebster Award and I am a bit behind responding–so if you check this out and want to take part–go right on ahead!  I recommend any blog that is following me!  You’re all pretty cool! :D

The Dark Knight Rises does NOT disappoint. Thank you, Mr. Nolan!

I am solidly in the LOVE camp here. I have read a few mixed reactions, but my experience was pure enjoyment and satisfaction. Christopher Nolan has created a realistic, thought-provoking, epic trilogy, that will forever be a classic. The Dark Knight Rises meets expectations and delivers entertainment in a grand scale.

I was fortunate to be able to take part in The Dark Knight Marathon and revisited the first two installments, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, on the big screen before the midnight screening and it was awesome. It had been at least a year since I’ve seen either and watching them back to back did add depth and increased my emotional investment in the story.

Side note:  Honestly, I will have to declare that as much as I was satisfied with TDKR, the second film (TDK) is still my favorite. How could it not be? It has one of the BEST villains of all time with (the greatly missed) Heath Ledger‘s iconic Joker and with a structure and narrative that are near perfect. It is truly brilliant.

Maybe watching them together allowed me to be able to appreciate Nolan’s intricate storytelling even more. He tied all loose ends and revealed threads that connected to the first film. I am impressed by his ability to weave such a complicated, intimate narrative while still keeping the scale broad and big. What is amazing is that he created an intelligent, action movie–that plays out like a character study. He takes his time and in the process allows the greater themes to be addressed and examined.

Nolan explores what would really happen to the Batman if he were in our real world and Christian Bale delivers beautifully. Bale knows Bruce Wayne and Batman. He has grown into this character and this is his finest performance in the series. (I was excited from the first announcement that Bale would be Batman–it’s validating that he has done so well. Go, Christian!)

 

The series regulars, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, are all stellar (as usual).  Oldman, who I love to a fault, is fantastic and gets the chance to give Commissioner Gordon more depth. But, I have to give a special shout out to Caine for his Alfred, who had some wonderfully emotional scenes. Yes, I did spill over a few times. :D

How about the new players? Tom Hardy continues his awesome streak as Bane. Hardy is able to portray more with just his eyes and body language than most actors can. His Bane is imposing and scary.

 

 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the man! I love this kid! He is one of the best young actors out there–period. His body of work, to date, is already impressive and this is one more notch in his career. His Detective Blake is the heart of the story–the average every-man–who wants to believe in heroes.

 

The shout out though has to be Ms. Anne Hathaway‘s Selena Kyle (Catwoman–although she is NEVER called that–I love the realistic twist they gave her). She nails this character. Sexy, smart, slick, capable yet vulnerable and complicated. Hathaway steals the show. She has some of the best scenes and the biggest laughs. All I can say is WOW!  The only character I felt was underdeveloped was Marion Cotillard‘s Miranda Tate–Cotillard is lovely, but I did not ever get to know her until the end.

You all know that I will not delve into plot or details–I went in blind except for the first trailer and loved all the little surprises that were waiting for me. I want you to have that too. What I will say it that I loved how it ended. It felt…right. I applauded and cheered. I walked out with a smile on my face. I can sit here and find plot holes and character inconsistencies but the bottom line, is that this is Nolan’s vision and at the end–I was happy. I will always revisit this universe and feel happy. And isn’t that all the really matters? Yes. It is.

 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is excellent! But, may not be everyone’s cup of tea…

Why would I place the disclaimer in my review? Well, because most people do not like slow burn movies–you know–films that are quiet, subtle and deliberate.  And Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (TTSS) is most definitely a slow burn! I LOVED IT!!  Perfectly crafted, acted and executed. It is a story that takes its time–is complicated–and does not spoon feed its audience.  If that does not appeal to you–(and that is not a judgement) do not watch this film because you probably won’t like it. 

I believe that this is what true espionage must be like.  Thinking.  Solving puzzles.  Staying smarter and one step ahead of your enemies.  I am sure there are chases and fights–but most of the time, you have to out think your opponent, which you most likely will never meet. And this is what TTSS does so well, it highlights the paranoia, distrust and the intense nature of the spy business.  There were moments that I was tense and nervous just listening to them talk. 

Director Tomas Alfredson has done it again!  His unique vampire story, Let the Right One In, was my #1 favorite film of that year and TTSS will be in my Top 10 of 2011.  Alfredson is steady.  He moves the story along carefully.  By taking his time to set up mood and atmosphere he is able to increase the tension and suspense gradually and successfully.  And the feel is rich and heavy–I loved the 35mm look of the film–it was a nice touch and made it feel like it was shot in the 1970s. 

The writers (Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan) captured John le Carre‘s essence very well.  I have read a few of his novels, but not TTSS, so this was a clean slate for me.  I am glad I did not know what was going to happen because it kept the narrative engrossing for me from start to finish. This is so much more than just a mere “find the mole” story–well done!

Now for the cast. WOW!!  It is the British royalty of Acting. Everyone (and I mean everyone) is absolutely brilliant!  Colin Firth–Tom Hardy–Ciaran Hinds–John Hurt–etc, etc.  But for me, it was a particular pleasure since my long time love, Gary Oldman and my new-found love, Benedict Cumberbatch (BBC’s Sherlock) were sharing the screen.  I am willing to sound like a teenage girl when I say…OMG!!  Deep sigh.  Yes, clearly I am not objective when it comes to the demanding, superb presence of both these actors–they have a powerful effect on me. I can only hope tha Mr. Oldman will finally get some well over due Oscar attention.  His portrayal of George Smiley may not be flashy or overly dramatic–but that is not the only criteria used to measure outstanding performances and Oldman’s Smiley is outstanding!

So, if you like spy thrillers and want to see a smart, intricate puzzle come together–check it out!