Sunday, April 27, 2008

Thoughts on American Idol Top 6 Result Show

Ok so this is my first post ever on American Idol. I’ve been following this show since day one, but finally I’m tickled to write one post regarding it now..
To begin with, what a shocking elimination on American Idol last night! I mean, I would never have thought that Carly is the one who’s gonna go. Overall, I genuinely thought that her performance was good. Yes, it was screechy in parts, but I think she pulled it off. And she definitely was having fun. So I was sure that it would be either Jason Castro or Brooke White who was going home last night. Jason struggled throughout his performance -well, he was ill so it’s understandable- and Brooke was an awkward disaster when she decided to start all over again. So although they are two of my favorite contestants, I genuinely believed that one of them was going to head home that night. But it turned out to be Carly. Maybe it’s the song choice. I mean JCS is indeed an upbeat song, but as a Christian I personally find the lyrics and the whole idea of the musical to be unsettling. Maybe some of the people who watch the show felt the same way too. Maybe. I dunno..
But anyhow, despite the elimination and the controversy thing. The result show was really fun to watch last night. Some of the highlights was when Ryan kissed Simon gently on his head and pretended like it didn’t mean a thing, while Simon Cowell looked at Ryan like it DID mean a thing. Well I’m sure it didn’t mean a thing, Simon. Then there’s a part where ALW gave his suggestion of love song that he should write about Paula-Simon relationship:
  1. “Time to Say Goodbye”
  2. “How Can I Say I Miss You If You Weren’t Going Away”
That was hilarious. I like the second one better though!
But the major highlights have to come from Jason Castro. I have to say that he made it an interesting show to watch last night with his laid-back attitude. The yawning part in the backstage when other contestants were clearly anxious when waiting for the announcement. And the part where he fell on his kness when finding out that Syesha was the one on the bottom two, not Brooke. The ‘train motion choo-choo’ impersonation. And to cap it off: the ‘I don’t really want to sing right now’.. That was amusing.. And although I’m pretty sure that he thought that he was gonna be the one who went home last night -well I did too!-, at least he wasn’t all that stressed up about it. Sometimes, what makes American Idol a tense show to watch is because of the facial expressions of the contestants which reveal how stressed they are. But watching Jason Castro last night was refresing.
Btw, I like the way Carly left on high note. I'm sure that she'll find success in the future with that big voice of her. And I hope David Cook will be the one who win the whole thing, not the other David..

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

August Rush (2007)

Genre: Drama
I have to say that the first time I saw the poster and read the synopsis of this movie, I wasn’t instantly attracted to it. But after I heard some really good reviews from some people who have a similar taste in movie as I have and heard the soundtrack of this movie, I then "rushed" (HA! Puns!) to see this movie, and it just blew me away. I watched it with high expectations and was not let down.

"August Rush" is a kinda feel good, modern day fairy tale involving a parent-child separation and a boy's unrelenting search to be reunited with his parents. This movie is a fairytale set in real life circumstances. Although it was never advertised as an Oliver Twist take, but I loved all of the allusions to it –let’s face it, u can easily pick out the Dickens characters Fagin and the Artful--. It was a very creative take on the classic story. The poor orphan boy who wants nothing more than to be loved. Admittedly, the plot is somewhat predictable and possibly a little "sappy", but those elements are easily overcome by the moment-to-moment execution of the story and the primary theme of the movie: “music being the tie that binds all of us together” –-as nicely said by Robin Williams—

The scenes have an appealing fantasy element, while at the same time the plot manages to explore true-to-life human situations such as bullying of those who are different. There's not much dialogue in this movie. So the majority of the story is told through the music and the emotional expressions of the actors esp with the sparks in the eyes of the three main performers, it made me truly understand and believe that some people are just able to capture the joy in the musical arts, and it is the beauty of this film that somehow we are able to partake of that very amazing feeling. The music is incredible, and mostly consists of original scores. It includes gospel, rock and classical, seamlessly integrated in a new way that works extremely well. The cinematography is beautiful. The opening scene in the wheat field is just breathtaking


The story was very inspiring and the boy's unyielding faith and will to never give up on his dream to find his family really hit me. When I saw the ending of this movie, I have to say that I would like to see a sappy reunion scene, but then after I visualized it in my head, I realize that it would've ruined the tone of the movie. The ending was just beautiful as it ended with the crescendo of the music and the camera zooming in on August as he sees his parents standing there for the first time.


The acting was superb. Freddie Highmore/August Rush is excellent in this movie as are the entire cast. His sensitivity and quiet togetherness was very moving. Robin Williams --who admittedly looked like an authentic rockstar-- did a great job and left me in suspense during most of the movie as to whether he's actually a good guy or protagonist. In fact I'm still wondering about that one. Jonathan Rhys Meyers looks gorgeous :) and his voice was heartfelt. The expressions of his eyes truly speak a thousand words. Kerri Russel is beautiful. She did her magic and was very moving as well. While Leon G. Thomas III and Jamia Simone Nash have the delightful voices of angels.

All in all August Rush is a heart wrenching --in a good way--, inspiring, love story, that will light a spark in most hearts. Go watch it!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Juno (2007)

Genre: Independent
Juno is about an eccentric 16 year old girl named Juno MacGuff who soon discovers that she is pregnant. Being 16 and pregnant isn't that easy as Juno soon finds out and during these nine months and right till the end of her pregnancy, Juno matures as a person and learns about life, love and a lot of other things most people at that age would not learn until much older.

I am not going lengthily into the plot of this movie because Juno is really a great movie to experience and I feel that if I were to give away any more it wouldn't exactly be giving away any big secrets, or plot twists because the movie isn't like that, but I feel experiencing the movie without having too much knowledge or idea of how it might turn out will probably enhance your viewing pleasure because you get to see the magic of it's wonderful script and performances unfold before you and that is a far greater enjoyment than having known about the movie's many quirks and wonderful characters that you may otherwise not be able to enjoy as much.

The movie's script is quite literally brilliant and one of the most original and heartfelt to come out of the Hollywood system in awhile. Everything from Juno's teenage urban vocabulary, the pop culture references, or just the film's wonderfully unique and charming characters that are really a treat to get to know throughout the movie. While the plot of the movie is simple enough there are so many different layers to all of these characters and their personalities and true self portraits get to shine during the film. And like I said because these characters are so original and at the same time so human and realistic it's authenticity is really felt.

The script also features a lot of humour, great one liners and a lot of human situations that show us just how real this movie is and it is done with a real sharp taste of what it would be like for someone in this situation as well as showing the emotions, drama and life lessons including love that these characters discover. All of this is told to us with the brilliant spot on performances and the wonderful script that will make us laugh and other times warm our hearts with the loving and caring nature that the main characters show off.

This movie is so rich with it's writing and acted out with sheer brilliance by it's cast and it deserves a spot on the list as one of the year's best mvie and a wonderful performance by lead actress Ellen Page and a real and wonderfully written script by Diablo Cody. This film works as a comedy, a drama, a character study and a human interest story with a lot to give it's viewers. One of the year's best movies.