Deserving…The Piano

Being a pianist myself, of course I was going to rush off to watch The Piano (1993) as it came out on the big screen. Having no real idea what it was about (the days before YouTube and where trailers were pretty much only seen at the cinema) I was totally blown over by this wonderful movie. So much so that I bought the soundtrack sheet music (for piano, naturally), the soundtrack CD and even the book. This is one superb movie. Regardless of the Oscar nominations and wins. But, those too, it is absolutely deserving of:

Best Picture: oh wow…yes! Yes! Beautiful. Different. Totally engrossing. Sadly, no win but that’s fine because we’re still left with this work of art to watch over and over and over.

Best Director: Jane Campion was nominated for doing such a sterling job. Not winning this one though, she did win for…

Best Original Screenplay: The story is wonderful (See Best Actress for a very brief overview). To come up with such a unique tale requires great skill and creativity. No wonder this was a win for Jane Campion!

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Best Actress: Holly Hunter plays mute Ada who is married off to a man she has never met and so is sent to New Zealand from Scotland with her beloved daughter. Landing on a beach from which there is quite a trip by foot to reach her new home, she is forced to leave her prized piano behind by her husband (Sam Neill). Baines (Harvey Keitel) sees an opportunity (which I won’t disclose) and manages to bring the piano back to his home and the story unfolds from there. Holly Hunter is fantastic as Ada. I can’t imagine it easy to play the role she does here. And so convincingly.

thepiano2Ada‘s character naturally flows over to and probably goes hand-in-hand with…

Best Supporting Actress: Flora, Ada‘s daughter, played by a then roughly 11 year old Anna Paquin is perfectly cast with Holly Hunter. She portrays a confident child that still has a lot to learn. Her role, which in my opinion, brings the situation to a head, is deserving of the win. Without a doubt.

Best Cinematography: Receiving this nomination but not winning is Stuart Dryburgh. Without the beautiful cinematography, most of the magic and passion of this movie would definitely have been lost.

Best Costume Design: Oh wow…need I mention the amazing costumes. Beautiful. Every single one of them. All courtesy of Janet Patterson who unfortunately didn’t win.

Best Film Editing: As with the cinematography, the editing is what brings across the magic. Brilliantly done to bring us this work of art. This nomination went to Veronika Jenet.

But….The Piano wouldn’t be The Piano without the exquisite soundtrack composed by Michael Nyman. Ah….just to think of it now. I can hear it in my head. It is well worth listening to…or even playing if you can (not an easy one though, but once those fingers glide…ahhhh….). I agree with Debbie’s post (here) that it was overlooked at the Oscars.

Thanks Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club for letting me take part in this 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon again. For my last year’s entry, The Sting, click here. Hmmm….The Piano, The Sting…I’m clearly starting a pattern here in terms of titles.

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In a Nutshell: 10th & Wolf (2006)

10thandwolfTommy (James Marsden) returns to his family and friends in Philadelphia and thus becomes re-involved in the Mafia (the reason he left was to get away from it all). However, this time he is left with no choice as he is “forced” to go undercover by an FBI agent because of a pending prison sentence. Tommy is to provide evidence around the Sicilian mob and in return can protect his cousin Joey (Giovanni Ribisi) and brother Vincent (Brad Renfro) who are both part of the family “business”.

This wasn’t too bad and kept me wanting to see how it would all unfold. I believe it is based on real characters.  I always enjoy watching James Marsden, hence the reason I probably had it on my radar in the first place. Ribisi is good at these type of roles and I was quite impressed with Renfro, who I’d never seen before. You’ll even see Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee and Dennis Hopper in very, very small roles. Piper Perabo has a bigger small role in this movie directed by Robert Moresco.

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Musical Notes: Pretender (Foo Fighters)

Some music for this Friday. Have a wonderful weekend.

I was first “attracted” to this piece not by the song (which I think is pretty cool) but by the awesome music video. Not sure why, but there’s just something about that “water explosion” (3.28) …watch and enjoy.

Another Mystery Blogger Award – from Kira!

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Thank you Kira of Film and TV 101 for nominating me for my second Mystery Blogger Award. This award, created by Okoto Enigma, is greatly appreciated.

For those of you who read my answers (and questions) from Drew’s nomination a few days ago, I’ve changed the content…no repeats 😉

Here are the rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three things about me:

  1. I have an Excel Spreadsheet (or, as I like to call it…a small database) in which I list all the DVD and BluRay discs in my collection. In it, I have things like: Genre, Language, Country, Release Date, Film Date, Director, Music By, Bar Code, Rating (mine and IMDB) and a column for each year in which I mark the number of times watched. I know…I’m such a techie…
  2.  I’m a keen cyclist although these days I don’t manage to get out as much as I used to. I used to enter at least four 100km plus social races each year.
  3. angusI make a point of only adopting rescue dogs…currently I have one very grumpy and opinionated Scottish Terrier called Angus (yes, what else would you expect…although I didn’t name him) and a very lazy Mini Schnauzer who thinks he’s a cat. He’s called Seppi and I drove roughly 400km (one way) to go fetch him (so 800km).

The Five questions I’ve received from Kira:

What do you know now that you wish you had known 10 years ago? Oh my…I have thought and thought and thought and I just can’t come up with something. Great question…I just don’t know…

What film or TV series would you say is your guilty pleasure? Northmen: A Viking Saga. I enjoy watching this one for the story (or lack of, as some say). It isn’t a big budget movie but for a Swiss, German and South African production filmed largely in South Africa it isn’t a bad attempt.

If you could pick any two famous people to be your parents, who would they be? I don’t want famous parents. I am happy with my own. Besides, there’s nobody famous who I could possibly want…famous people are in the limelight too much.

If you were to start a Film Club, what film would you show at the first gathering and why? Pulp Fiction. Can’t tell you why, just so…it seems like a good choice to start a Film Club. And it’s a pretty darn good movie.

What would you call your own talk show? Catherine’s Yackety Yack (That just came to mind on a whim so I’ll leave it at that)

As per my previous Mystery Blogger award…I wasn’t sure what to put down as my best post…is it the best “performing” or my best as in the one I think is my best. But this time, I’ll go with the one that I’ve had such wonderful responses to: Delightful…The Grand Seduction.

Now for the hard part – the 5 questions. Here they are:

  1. What do you prefer…the smell of freshly baked bread or freshly mowed grass/lawn?
  2. If you could delve into the life of one book and live it as if you were a character in it (not necessarily the main one)…i.e. if the world of a book could be visited, which book would it be? (Ahhh…I can “see” this so clearly in my mind…hard to explain)
  3. Are you a good cuppa tea or perfectly brewed coffee person?
  4. Most unusual food you have eaten (by your standards)?
  5. Silly/weird question: Take your current state of mind – if you had to pick a piece of music to represent where you are right now…what would it be?

Here are the bloggers I’d like to award this to (in no particular order) and if they would like it. I’m going to do a mix of new bloggers I’ve just discovered and the ones I’ve interacted with a fair amount.

Marta (Ramblings of a Cinephile)

Paul (Pfeiffer Films and Meg Movies)

Wednesday’s Child (Seven Doors of Cinema)

Kristina (Speakeasy)

Thom (The Immortal Jukebox)

Debbie (Moon in Gemini)

Charlene (Charlene’s (mostly) Classic Movie Reviews)

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Delightful…The Grand Seduction

O Canada BannerIt has been ages since I’ve watched such a feel-good, yet not soppy/sappy, movie. One that makes you smile and feel positive! The Grand Seduction (2013) is just such one…

This is a “remake” of fellow Canadian production, the 2003 La grande séduction which also looks lovely (I’ll have to give it a watch). It all takes place in the harbour (don’t call it a village) of Tickle Head, Newfoundland where all residents, bar a few, are unemployed. With fishing no longer an option, the only alternative is to apply for a “Petrochemical Byproduct Re-purposing Facility” i.e.a petrochemical factory. However, the catch is this…they need a resident doctor in order to be considered and, well…they don’t have one. In addition, the local residents need some convincing that they should care and hope for something more than the monthly welfare payouts.

thegrandseductionposterLuckily, former-Tickle-Head-mayor-now-airport-security Tom (Lawrence Barry) finds cocaine stashed away in Dr Lewis’ (Taylor Kitsch) bag as he is returning from a cricket tour. And so it starts…Dr Lewis goes to Tickle Head for a month as the doctor and no charges of possession will be pressed. That gives the harbor just enough time to convince him to stay on permanently thus giving them the much needed factory.

Headed by Murray (the wonderful Brendan Gleeson) residents give the harbour a clean and revamp to make a good first impression. Being big hockey fans, they even learn to play cricket (which they though was an animal) and pretend that is their passion, all because Dr Lewis is a cricket fanatic. Ah, it is absolutely lovely how they go about kitting out their “team”. I don’t want to mention much more because you absolutely have to see this for yourself. Together with all the other “little” gestures to make the place enticing. Naturally, all with an ulterior motive.

The other scene that has always stuck with me is their method of “inflating” the number of residents to the required amount. It brings a big smile to my face just thinking about it. In fact, the whole movie is special. What adds to the charm is the various characters, each one so endearing, full of charm which gives that authentic small village/harbour feel. Brendan Gleeson always impresses – he is great in everything he does. After having watched Canadian Taylor Kitsch in only one previous role (and movie) I didn’t think much of, I was thoroughly impressed by him in The Grand Seduction. I guess it is a case of never judge an actor by the only role you’ve seen him in.

Canadian Gordon Pinset is Simon, Murray’s “sidekick”, for which he won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at the Canadian Screen Awards. Well deserved!

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The scenery is beautiful. It tempts me to go see it for myself. I love visiting small towns and villages – there is always something special about these places away from the hectic city life.

So…give this one a go. I’m almost certain you’ll find yourself grinning from ear to ear. And I promise to give the “original” a watch too.

Thanks to Speakeasy and Silver Screenings for hosting this O Canada Blogathon. Here’s my entry from last year on Donald Sutherland.

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Mystery Blogger Award from Drew!

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Thank you Drew of Drew’s Movie Reviews for thinking of me for the Mystery Blogger Award. This award was created by Okoto Enigma.

Here are the rules:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three things about me:

  1. I painted the flower of which my blog displays a portion of near the top. It is oil on 2m by 2m canvas. The bee is not meant to look dead (as someone pointed out) – it looked fine on the original photo I took. Here it is:flowerwatermark
  2. Believe it or not, I grew up without a television in the house. That was out of choice by my parents and I never missed it. Instead, I grew up with boxes and boxes of Super 8 movies that my parents had salvaged from a “Video Store” when they moved to Video Cassettes. Oh, and books. Lots of books. I still rarely watch television unless I pop a DVD in the player.
  3. I’m a techie (noun: a person who is expert in or enthusiastic about technology, especially computing) from a job perspective…BI (Business Intelligence) specifically. BUT…I completed my studies in music as a composer. Piano and Organ were my main instruments. I’ve barely touched them since 😦

The Five questions I’ve received from Drew:

  1. What is your favourite place you have visited? This is always a tricky question because I’ve seen so many fabulous places – each one is special in its own way. So…I’m reusing an existing answer of mine: I love Switzerland (when I can afford it), Thailand is just special, the Kruger National Park (South Africa) is always wonderful, New York has an amazing energy. Don’t have a favourite.
  2. What would you do if you had a time machine and didn’t have to worry about the ill effects of time travel? I’d transport myself back to the Wild West (but the one as depicted in the movies) and be a no-nonsense cowgirl 😉
  3. What was your favorite film released last year? I don’t watch too many new releases, but of those I’ve watched, Ballerina (aka Leap) and Jane Got a Gun were the ones that stood out from last year. Ballerina was just magical. Jane Got a Gun, despite not receiving good ratings, is one of those I just enjoyed.
  4. Why did you start blogging? Purely as a means of expressing myself, as an outlet for whatever came to mind. For nobody but myself but in a “public” forum so that I needed to make an effort.
  5. If you could live in any fictional world, which would you choose? Well, this one probably goes hand-in-hand with question 2…the Wild West as depicted in the movies is a fictional one. So yes…that’s the fictional world.

Wow…I don’t know what to put down as my best post…is it the best “performing” or my best as in the one I think is my best. So…my “best performing” with number of views is here (wow…didn’t expect that one), with number of likes is here and my best post is here.

Now for the hard part – the 5 questions. Here they are:

  1. What is the most out-of-character thing you have ever done?
  2. Name one of the things that you haven’t gotten around to but still want to do/see in your life.
  3. Are you an introvert or extrovert?
  4. What is your “guilty pleasure” movie or book?
  5. Silly question: if you had to create a story using a mish-mash of existing book or movie characters – a good character (your protagonist), a villain, a superhero and a fantastical being, who would you bring together?

Here are the bloggers I’d like to award this to (in no particular order) and if they would like it:

Moody Moppet

Tim Neath

Fiction Fan (see it as a birthday blog gift)

Traveller Dave

Front Porch, Sweet Tea and a Pile of Books

Dysfunctional Literacy

Jason’s Movie Blog

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January’s Westerns with Movie Rob

Movie Rob‘s Genre Grandeur for January 2017 was about the

Western!

My favourite genre! It has been so much fun but, I just didn’t watch as many as I would have liked to. Distractions by that other “W” word…”Work” I think it is? Head on over to Rob for some more fantastic entries.

Here is a recap of the Westerns I’ve managed to watch this month (in no particular order). Those marked with * are the ones I consider “Grandeur worthy”…that is, they are fantastic, in my opinion.

Broken Trail *

In a Valley of Violence

Open Range *

The Magnificent Seven (1960) *

Vera Cruz

The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing

The Scalphunters

Once Upon a Time in the West *

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