Have You Ever Heard of ”Fish Tank” the Movie?

19 Apr

This little British gem of a film, released in theaters the United States early this year and it’s without doubt the BEST film so far this year on my book!

The film employs a Ken Loach and Mike Leigh’s style of filmmaking and portrays socio-economic themes and classes of a segment  of British culture, which proves to be in some cases, brutally honest.  And honest is what the leading character is, played by a newcomer young girl, who is virtually unknown and has never acted before.  Mia–as she goes by in the film–is truly a revelation!  I believed her as Mia and what she was going through in her life.

Katie Jarvis–Mia--was ‘discovered’ when she was having a heated argument with her boyfriend across the platforms at Tilbury Town railway station.  She had dropped out of school and was unemployed when she was cast in this film–her first motion picture.

The film’s title is a metaphor of Mia’s life, as her life feels like that of a ‘fish tank’, trapped.  She decides to break out of that and explore life in her own terms: through dance, trying to save a horse, rebelling against her friends and mother, and finally finding trust in unknown men.  The latter however, changes her life forever and where this experience leads her ends up forcing her to grow-up almost instantly.

Andrea Arnold, the writer and director of the film, remarkably succeeds in telling the story of a young teenager girl in working-class London, where life can be really harsh and people are forced to grow very fast and adapt to their conditions the best way possible to survive.  The film proves to be bleak, but hopeful and redeeming in the end.

The film won multiple awards early this year and last year leading up to its release in US art-house theaters.

It won the ‘Jury Prize’ at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009

British Independent Film Award – best promising new comer actress and director

BAFTA Film Award – Outstanding British Film 2010

The film has released in DVD in England, but it’s release in the US is yet to be announced.  As soon as it’s available I highly recommend anyone to watch it, as it’s REALLY worth seeing!

The DVD is currently available on Amazon UK for purchase.


Fifteen-year-old Mia is in a constant state of war with her family, her school and her neighbors, without any constructive creative outlet for her energies save a secret love of hip-hop dancing. When she meets her party-girl mother’s charming new boyfriend Connor, she is amazed to find him returning her attention, and believes he can help her start to make sense of her life and eventually they have sex, after which he disappears from all their lives. When Mia tracks him down she finds that he has not been wholly honest with them and decides to take revenge, which almost ends in disaster. However, she does find consolation with Billy, a young traveller, after making up with her family.

For more details about this great indie film check out it’s website, become a fan of Facebook and follow it on Twitter for updates.


2009 RAMMYS: ICINE’S BEST in Motion Picture Announced

2 Mar

In what it was the worse year for good films in recent memory, 2009 proved to be a very difficult year to come up with some decent films that stood out from the rest.  Nevertheless, award season is coming to an end with the last two major awards being unveiled this coming weekend: The Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards.  Thus, it’s time to announce the BEST OF 20o9 in Motion Pictures and this time around it’s Icine’s turn to announce its choices with the RAMMY’S.  In it’s 13th edition, the RAMMYS are awarded every year to the excellence of film and acting, and this year marks it’s first year that they will actually be published to the public.

Here is the short list of best films, best actors, and all the winners–in bold–in each category :


Best Actor

Jeff Bridges  for Crazy Heart

Colin Firth for A Single Man

Tahar Rahim for A Prophet

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker

Michael Stuhlbarg for A Serious Man

Best Actress

Penelope Cruz for Broken Embraces

Charlotte Gainsbourg for Antichrist

Helen Mirren for The Last Station

Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Tilda Swinton for Julia

Best Supporting Actor

Niels Arestrup for A Prophet

Brian Geraghty for The Hurt Locker

Woody Harrelson for The Messenger

Christopher Plummer for The Last Station

Christoph Waltz for Inglorious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress

Grace Coddington for The September Issue

Vera Farmiga for Up the Air

Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire

Samantha Morton for The Messenger

Blanca Portillo for Broken Embraces

Best Director

Jacques Audiard for A Prophet

Katrhyn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker

James Cameron for Avatar

Quentin Tarantino for Inglorious Basterds

Lars Von Trier for Antichrist

Best Motion Picture



Broken Embraces

The Hurt Locker

Inglorious Basterds

Top Ten Films

10.  The Cove

9.  A Serious Man

8.  Mancora

7.  Tokyo Sonata

6.  A Prophet

5.  Open Embraces

4.  Antichrist

3.  Hurt Locker

2.  Avatar

1.  Inglorious Basterds

Stay tuned for the release of the RAMMYS Awards Retrospective coming soon…

2009 Golden Globes Winners Revealed [Monday Report]

18 Jan

This year’s NBC’s Golden Globes broadcast ratings got a nice boost according to Nielsen numbers released today.

“The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards” had 14 percent more viewers than last year’s show.  The three-hour shindig won its time slot and drew 16.9 million viewers, beating an audience of 14.9 million viewers in 2009.

Having British actor-comedian Ricky Gervais as the host must have helped!

If you missed the show, here is a recap of who won in each category:


Best film drama:


Actor in a drama:

Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”

Actress in a drama:

Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”

Best comedy or musical:

“The Hangover”

Actor in a comedy or musical:

Robert Downey, Jr. “Sherlock Holmes”

Actress in a comedy or musical:

Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Supporting Actor:

Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Supporting Actress:

Mo’Nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire”

Animated film:


Foreign Language film:

“The White Ribbon,” Germany


James Cameron, “Avatar”


Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, “Up In the Air”

Original Score:

Michael Giacchino, “Up”

Original Song:

T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, “The Weary Kind,” from “Crazy Heart”


Best TV drama:

“Mad Men”

Actor in a drama:

Michael C. Hall, “Dexter

Actress in a drama:

Julianna Marguiles, “The Good Wife”

Best comedy or musical:


Actor in a comedy or musical:

Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock”

Actress in a comedy or musical:

Toni Collette, “United States of Tara”

Best movie or mini-series:

“Grey Gardens”

Actor in a movie or mini-series:

Kevin Bacon, “Taking Chance”

Actress in a movie or mini-series:

Drew Barrymore, “Grey Gardens”

Supporting actor, series, movie or mini-series:

John Lithgow, “Dexter”

Supporting actress, series, movie or mini-series:

Chloe Sevigny, “Big Love”

CECILE B. DEMILLE AWARD (career achievement):

Martin Scorsese

For complete coverage on the awards visit: http://www.goldenglobes.org/

And the Nominees Are…?

9 Dec

2009 will be marked as the year of BAD to WORSE releases and one that would alter the way I look at films and made me adjust my approach to the appreciation of this art form.

The award season has officially kicked-off with the recent Spirit Award Nominations and the National Board of Review, and between them, only a handful of films are worth mentioning, while many others wouldn’t even have a chance in any other year.  Granted there are many films to choose from–as in the case of the upcoming Golden Globe nominations this coming Tuesday–but many of them unfortunately lack substance and aim at mainstream audiences who were simply looking for escapist entertainment.

On December 15th, the Hollywood Foreign Press will narrow down this year’s nominations from over 170 films in contention, and with so many categories they may have trouble filling in the slots due to lack of worthy films, performances and such.  But then again, it’s the Golden Globes and they have been known for having a much broader appeal to films of all kinds than it’s older brother; OSCAR!

Come Oscar nomination time, academy members may find themselves in a pickle as well, as they will have to broaden their spectrum; since beginning this year there will be no 5 Best Picture nominees, but rather 10.  This will certainly prove to be very difficult for those more intellectual members who seek good quality films.  It’s the second week in December and I can only come up with a quite small number of films worth considering and time is running out for Academy Award consideration–December 31st.  The truth of the matter is that there are only less than half a dozen films that I am interested in viewing before the year’s end, and that I think will perhaps be worth my while.  The quality of films have deteriorated immensely over the years and it’s a disappointing truth that I have been reluctant to accept.  Since I was 15, I have been a avid film fan and have always looked forward to going to the movies, but 2009 unfortunately marks the year that my outlook has finally met reality.

As a result, I have decided to broaden my spectrum by focusing on various forms of filmmaking independently, as opposed to a sum of it’s parts masterpiece, as has been tradition.  Some of these forms are: acting, cinematography, art direction, story, etc.  And by doing that I have managed to come up with a preliminary list of films that are good, but by no means brilliant or masterpieces.

Here are some of my favorite films this year to exemplify how few these are–in random order and please note that 3 of them are foreign:

Inglourious Basterds

Tokyo Sonata

Hurt Locker



Looking forward to see:


The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

The Lovely Bones

A Single Man


In the meantime, I make a plea to HOLLYWOOD to get out of this bad road it’s taken over the last few years and become more CREATIVE AND COME OUT WITH MORE QUALITY FILMS, AS IT WAS ONCE THE NORM!!!

Inglourious Basterds – One of this Year’s BEST FILMS!

8 Nov

As I have mentioned time after time this year, motion pictures have never been so disappointing as they have in 2009.

3094974554_c7d890a8e3So, after searching so hard for those few little gems; I finally seem to have found with no doubt one of the Best Films of the year.  This very well done piece of work has been brought to us by Quentin Tarantino, one of the masters of modern-day U.S. film making, and whose work couldn’t have come at a better time.  The film is Inglourious Basterds.

inglourious_basterds_9In the first clip, Colonel Hans Lander (played brilliantly by Christoph Waltz) – aka “The Jew Hunter” – faces the French farmer Monsieur LaPadite (Denis Menochet) in his cottage and explains his twisted theory why Jews are like ‘rats’…which gives the viewer what they’re in for.  The film begins with a high degree of sophisticated style and maturity to the point that we find ourselves reading subtitles without losing any interest, as the suspense of what’s about to happen keeps the audience perked up.  By the time the film was over, we heard the characters speak English, French, Italian and German, and the one who did the most impressive job mastering all these languages was Christoph Waltz.

3296263642_bc4347281fI was very impressed by the solid maturity, degree of  suspense, elegant and artistic shots and angles throughout the film that made it perhaps one of Tarantino’s most accomplished and serious work to date.  Of course there are hints of the director’s trademark throughout the film, and that is the over indulgence of music, which in most cases works, but in this one it become a bit distracting and out-of-place.  For example, the usage of  David Bowie’s awesome “Cat People” in a pivotal scene in which the soundtrack got in the way; similarly, Tarantino’s incredibly distracting casting choice of having Mike Meyers on playing a serious character that wasn’t very effective because it’s hard to take him seriously, as his normally a clown.  Also, having Brad Pitt on board was a bit unnecessary for the story I thought, but I understand why the choice,  as he’s a huge box office draw, as the film brought in some decent results in box office thanks to him.  The rest of the film’s casting on the other hand was impeccable,  starting with Christoph Waltz, who deserves an Oscar for his powerhouse performance!

The delectable Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa.  This guy is an amazing and wonderful oozer of charisma, menace, and sociopathic charm.  From his first scene, in a farmhouse in France, to his last, Waltz is a riveting character and a sublime bit of casting.


Nevertheless, these are such small things that are typical of Tarantino that are almost insignificant, as the picture overall has some many good things going that outweigh these minor distractions.

Tarantino pulls out a strong, tension-filled WWII movie draped on an alternative universe full of  revenge and fantasy that is divided in three chapters which are more and more suspenseful as time progresses.  The plot revolves around a ”Jew Hunter”, a Jewish cinema owner, a Nazi hero infatuated with her, a British infiltration, and a film premiere where it all culminates brilliantly.  One forgets, with all the French, German, bit of Italian and English over 153 minutes, that you’re watching a Hollywood movie at all, if felt very European or a grown-up film by a master American Filmmaker like Robert Altman or something.  The Film is that GREAT!

inglourious-basterds_pic2_mI must warn you that the violence in the film is a bit extreme, but necessary to make the point Tarantino is trying to make.  It’s also not to be taken very seriously, as dark comedy is infused throughout in a very clever way.

I won’t tell you anymore about this awesome flick and will let you go find out the rest yourself.  Rush to the theater to go see it…and if you can’t find it playing near you anymore, stay tuned, as there will be a strong Oscar push come awards season and will be brought back to theaters nationwide.

MPAA Rating R- strong graphic violence, language, & brief sexuality

Release date 8/21/09

Time in minutes 153

Rating: 4 STARS


Check out the official Inglourious Basterds trailer after the jump…

Dinner and a Movie = A Classic Combination

7 Oct

When you think of dinner and a movie you may think of going out to dinner and then rushing to the theater to catch your favorite flick, right?

background_cinemalocationsWell, Village Roadshow–an Australian media company with interests in cinematheme parks, film production and distribution–is now introducing a new concept to the States that will make you look at the good old dinner and a movie idea as a true experience!  The Australian media company is calling their venture “Gold Class Cinemas”, which aims to deliver ‘first and gold class’ treatment to its clientele.

I first learned about this new chain when strolling around Old Pasadena and saw their sign and mark key reading coming soon.  And then earlier this week, there was an article on the local newspaper about the official new theater experience coming to town.  I agree with the Pasadena Star News about this potentially becoming the “next big thing in Old Pasadena”, as it has been sometime now since the One Colorado Laemmle Theaters left the district and a new concept like this was desperately needed!

‘Gold Class Cinemas will be taking over the old Laemmle art house spot in the One Colorado structure and it’s scheduled to be completed in time for Christmas and should certainly boost business sales to the district this holiday season.

26011733EThe six-screen luxury theater experience will be the first of its kind in Southern California and part of the Australian-based company’s roll out plan that includes existing sites in Washington State, Texas and Illinois.  Each screen will have a smaller number of seats to make the experience a bit more intimate and overall integrity in line with their luxury approach.

This is already a hugely popular concept in Australia and I think it should do well here in the States, but will it be popular among restaurants–which are many over 100 in Old Pasadena alone–and ultimately the consumer’s pockets?

Well, it provides with a convenient approach by having everything in one place…a server serving you, sipping a nice wine or glass of champagne in a reclining chair accompanied with your loved one, sounds good, doesn’t it?

It’s certainly a small luxurious approach to the experience of going out, especially when you add a blanket and a pillow to an already comfortable leather chair, at a prize tag of between $25 – $35 a pop–this does not include tax or tip.  It’s not so bad I think…It’s completely reasonable.  I am ready to impress my loved one with a special date…can I bring my own rare wine?

One think that I would be concerned is the noise level and the distraction factor when having people mingle, eating and servers running around with food…should be interesting to see how this plays out.

For more details visit “Gold Class Cinemas”


Alice in Wonderland in the Eyes of Tim Burton

6 Sep

Due to the lack of good films out there this year, here are some cool images from Tim Burton/Johnny Depp’s latest collaboration: Alice in Wonderland, opening Spring 2010!

Based on these images the movie seems like it’s going to be a visual spectacle, as many of Burton’s fantastic films.

Here you go, courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes…I’ve enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter’s images the most!photo_13_hiresphoto_16_hiresphoto_17_hiresphoto_09_hiresphoto_01_hires

Here is a teaser to this much anticipated film and the link to its official website:

Alice in Wonderland