Monthly Archives: January 2011

Eminem for the Grammys

The Grammys recently put out a TV ad portraying the 2011 Grammy nominations leader, Eminem, with 10 of those. The result is a cool 30-second animated spot with vivid colors and various graphic elements related to Marshall Matters.

The Grammy will air on February 13th on CBS, where Em will face against The Arcade Fire, Landy Antebellum, and pop phenomenons Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber for the title of Album of the Year.

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Mr. Nobody review

“I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid I haven’t been alive enough”.

Probably the sentence everybody says to itself at least once in its lifetime, but are afraid of admitting it. Mr. Nobody, a movie directed by Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael, gravitates around this statement, but also around the choices which we’re confronted to in our lives.

The always amazing Jared Leto (who you may not believe, but just turned 39) stars as Nemo, a confusing character of which we see many sides during the movie. The rest of the storyline is hard to sum up without giving away any spoilers, and is hard to sum up period, because it ressembles nothing I’ve seen before. The story is original and well-put together and the characters are both complex but highly likeable. But what makes the movie is really the masterful work of direction that has been done by Jaco Van Dormael. Every shot has been thoroughly thought through, the transitions are the most impressive I’ve seen in any movie, hands down, and the way he’s able to bring you from one part of the non-linear storyline to another is so fluid that it becomes easy to follow the complex story.

The cinematography is also highly impressive. Various techniques were used, from super slow-motion images to bizarrely-focused shots that are most probably filmed with a tilt-shift lens. Some of those shots were actually shot in Montreal, which makes it even more interesting for me to spot locations that I know. The make-up job is also amazing. Jared Leto is sometimes portrayed as 118-year old Nemo, and his old self is flawless. The make-up department for this movie definitely deserves an Oscar nomination.

Mr. Nobody’s cast is up too par with any other movie too. Leto is excellent as usual, and the movie features many kid and teen actors, who are surprisingly believable in their roles, which is something that most movies suffer when they try to incorporate very young actors in their films.

The emotions that emanate from this movie are really unmatched. It’ll make you feel good at some times, make you confused at other times. It’ll challenge your mind with its many twists and subliminal messages (particularly water, which is a very present element throughout the movie, and has many meanings), make you ask questions that you’ve never thought of before on various subjects, and finally, will simply make you want to live life to the fullest.

This could easily be the most under-rated movie of the last decade. I had posted the trailer of it back in May 2009, and I had completely forgotten about it. It was one of the best cinematographic surprise ever when I stumbled upon it almost 2 years later. Any fan of modern cinema should watch it and enjoy the unique experience on which Mr. Nobody will take you.

Are movie critics afraid of thinking out of the box ?

I hate to admit it, but I’m a big fan of award-shows. The Golden Globes are no exception, and I was really stoked to watch that show yesterday night. I just saw Social Network and Toy Story 3 last week so I had a better idea of what was going on with the nominations.

I liked the show overall: Ricky Gervais was funny as the host, Olivia Wilde was hot as hell and DeNiro got honored for his amazing career. But, in the end, I think the Hollywood Foreign Press failed miserably again in encouraging “out-of-the-box” cinema.

First off, let me say that I really loved Social Network. I think David Fincher is an amazing director (I’m a die-hard fan of Seven and Fight Club), Jesse Eisenberg was really good in his role, Aaron Sorkin’s script definitely deserved an award, and this movie is probably the first that is able to portrait recent events such as the Facebook story without leaving you with the bitter taste of deja vu and “we already know all that” in your mouth. Bottom line, if you haven’t seen it, rent it right away, it’s awesome.

BUT, there’s a but. This year, Inception made the cut as one of the five nominees for Best Picture – Drama, and in my opinion, it deserved to win by a mile, if not two. Let’s get this straight, how many times do we read sentences like “the story was same old same old” and “the movie lacked originality” in various movie critics. Pretentious critics are fast to notice these flaws, and their not shy of expressing their opinions in their reviews.

Now, here you have this epic thriller/sci-fi movie, with a concept never before seen, with an all-star cast (it’s a scandal that DiCaprio was not nominated for Best Actor) and a story that challenges your intelligence to the next level. Let’s face it, movies like Inception come once every 5, maybe 10 years. What was the last mega Hollywood blockbuster that messed up with your head the way Inception did ? For me I think it was Memento, also directed by Christopher Nolan, and that was 11 years ago, in 2000, and saying it was a Blockbuster is pushing it way too hard.

Inception is also beautifully directed, and without taking away anything from Mr. Fincher, it was most likely a lot more challenging movie to direct than Social Network. The story is heavily complex, but the way it is told makes it perfectly understandable if you’re concentrated, and this can only be achieved by an experienced, highly-talented director, which Mr. Nolan is.

Also, I’m not saying IMDB’s Top 250 list is an absolute reference, but when a movie is #7 just months after its release, it must mean it’s pretty good, no ? Even Black Swan is 108 positions in front of the Social Network, which appears at #160. People might not know cinema like movie critics, but we’re not talking about a controversial battle for first or second place, we’re talking about 153 positions separating the two movies in the eyes of the public’s opinion.

Now why would movie critics not give the Best Picture – Drama award to Inception ? Are their condescending selves shy of publicly liking a movie involving science fiction ? Is it bad for this very select and elitist group of person to recognize a movie involving visual effects ? Probably not, since Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won Best Picture at the Oscars back in ’04. What is it then ? I’m waiting for an answer.

Had it been any other year, I would have shut my mouth and congratulated the Social Network team for their wins. But this is just a shame. Inception is a movie like no other, while Fincher’s movie is something that has been seen before and that we’ll see again in the future. I blame those critics for the lack of originality in today’s cinema, because letting a movie like Inception go without any recognition is encouraging established and aspiring filmmakers to play it safe, not take risks, and do like everybody else. To the critics, you’re the only ones to blame for your recurring “the story lacked originality” sentences.

Cadillac’s Red-Blooded Luxury

Cadillac released two new ads during the Rose Bowl on January 1st, Red-Blooded Luxury and Arrows, both narrated by Laurence Fishburne. While Arrows is more standard, and promotes a particular model of Cadillac, the CTS-V Coupe, Red-Blooded Luxury is more of a brand-oriented ad, and does its job damn well.

Cadillac has always been identified as luxury cars, and this ad just breathes prestige. Fishburne’s beautifully-written voiceover supports flawless imagery throughout this one-minute spot. The emotions and feelings that every frame brings is unmatched and makes you want to live to the fullest. It speaks to young people and old people at the same time, and sends one message: Cadillac is not a car without soul for over-50 bank executives, it’s a performant car for anyone wanting a next-level driving experience.

I’ve never been a fan of their cars, but I would understand any Cadillac lover to be going straight to the dealership after viewing this ad. This is advertising beautifully executed.

No sign yet of who is behind this ad, but I’ll keep on looking and update when I get my answer.

Worst ad of the year already ?

It’s kind of a shame that my first blog post of 2011 is a rant about an ad, but I couldn’t let this thing pass by. I just saw an ad for the furniture store, The Brick, and I think it’s going to be difficult to be removed from the throne of worst ad of the year.

The ad shows Hayley Wickenheiser walking in The Brick and starts shooting pucks at an old washer… Ok so let me figure this out. Did the ad agency think that just because Wickenheiser was in the commercial that it made it good ? If your “celebrity” has to wear her hockey jersey with her name written on the back, it MAY mean that this person isn’t famous enough to have a big impact in an ad. Honestly, I have much respect for Wickenheiser and I think she’s one of the best female hockey players ever, but let’s face it, less than 1/100th of Canadians know who she is, and I’m being generous here.

Now, why is there a 1997 washer in the middle of state-of-the-art front-load washers all around ? Because the producers were too cheap to afford one of those new ones to be beaten up by slap shots ? Doesn’t this make Samsung (the advertised product) look like an old company ?

And finally, why the hell is she shooting pucks at a washer ? Ah, right, because she’s a hockey player ! Of course, Crosby and company always shoot pucks in appliances stores to see if they’re good.

This ad just plain sucks. Shame on the ad agency that came up with this concept.