Saturday 28 February 2015

Trivia Round Up - February 2015

Big Hero 6 (2014)
Baymax's movement and posing was modeled after studying the movement of baby penguins.

Mr. Nobody (2009)
Free movement across time is a recurring theme of the film. The central character's name is Nemo, which when spelled backwards is 'omen', a foretelling of the future. Further, his main love interest is Anna and his daughter is Eve, both of which are the same when read in reverse.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
In an interview, Saoirse Ronan admitted that making the hotel's signature confection, the Courtisane au Chocolat, wasn't easy. "Forget the action scenes in Hanna," she said, "these little pastries were the hardest thing I've had to do in a movie." 

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies (2014)

Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly) does not feature in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy because her character was made-up by Peter Jackson. Jackson met Lilly after he finished filming the first Middle Earth trilogy and liked her so much that he promised to include her character in Tolkien's other stories, should they be made into film. When they started filming the Hobbit, Lilly received a phone call from Jackson, bringing Tauriel's character to life.

Hello I Must be Going

The title is a reference to a Groucho Marx song of the same name.
This is the only trivia I could find :-/

Thanks for Sharing

Gwyneth Paltrow admitted that she was very embarrassed and felt uncomfortable during the stripping scene. 


Aaron Paul and Mary Elizabeth Winstead claimed that they went on one real binge drinking night during filming, which was video recorded, so they could see in playback how they would interact while drunk.
I love this!!

Birdman (2014)

There are only sixteen visible cuts in the entire film.
I kind of want to re-watch this to try and spot them all... I only spotted 1!!

Nightcrawler (2014)

Jake Gyllenhaal's character blinks very rarely. Gyllenhaal has used this method in his work before with his role as title character Donnie Darko.

The Imitation Game (2014)

On 27 November 2014, ahead of the film's US release, The New York Times reprinted the original 1942 crossword puzzle from The Daily Telegraph used in recruiting code breakers at Bletchley Park during World War II. Entrants who solve the puzzle can mail in their results for a chance to win a trip for two to London and a tour of the famous Bletchley Park facilities.
Some silly trivia perhaps, but I liked this!

Schindler's List (1993)
It is said that, during the filming, the atmosphere was so grim and depressing that Steven Spielberg asked his friend Robin Williams if he could film some comedy sketches.
There's oodles of amazing trivia for this film, but this in particular struck a chord with me.

The Theory of Everything (2014)

Eddie Redmayne met with Stephen Hawking only once before filming. "In the three hours I spent with him, he said maybe eight sentences," recalls Redmayne. "I just didn't feel like I could ask him intimate things." Therefore, he found other ways to prepare for the role. He lost about 15 pounds and trained for four months with a dancer to learn how to control his body. He met with 40 ALS patients, kept a chart tracking the order in which Hawking's muscles declined, and stood in front of a mirror for hours on end, contorting his face. Lastly, he remained motionless and hunched over between takes, so much so that an osteopath told him he had altered the alignment of his spine. "I fear I'm a bit of a control freak," Redmayne admits. "I was obsessive. I'm not sure it was healthy."
That is commitment!

Whiplash (2014)
For the slapping scene, J.K. Simmons and Miles Teller filmed several takes with Simmons only miming the slap. For the final take, Simmons and Teller decided to film the scene with a real, genuine slap. This is the take that is in the film.

Boyhood (2014)

Had Richard Linklater died during the 12-year shoot, Ethan Hawke would have taken over the directorial duties.
Seems boring but I had wondered what would happen if Linklater could no longer work on the film, whether it would just disappear!

*All trivia pulled from IMDB at

Friday 27 February 2015

Review: Boyhood (2014)

Took me a while to see this one as in all honesty, I wasn't that interested in seeing it.  In my opinion, it looked a bit boring.

Boyhood was filmed once a year for 12 years with the same cast.  It focuses on Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and his family, his Mom (Patricia Arquette), Dad (Ethan Hawke) and his Sister Samantha (Lorelai Linklater).  It is basically a coming of age drama following Mason from the age of 5 to 18 and the trials and tribulations of growing up as well as abusive step-fathers, falling in love and getting heartbroken.

I was really surprised that I enjoyed this, it appeared like it would be boring but it was paced so well that although I was aware of how long it was, it never felt like it was dragging.  In fact, at more than one point I thought it was going to end and when it didn't I was pleasantly surprised.  It almost felt like numerous episodes of a TV series rather than a movie, which was so different to anything I've seen before.

Ellar Coltrane was really good as Mason and to be able to play this character over 12 years while still maintaining the little personality traits of the character over such a long period of time.  Personally, Ethan Hawke was the highlight of this, his development from absent father to committed family man and the ups and downs in between was one of my favourite parts of the film.  There are no big budget scenes, no major revelations but that's almost what makes it so good, its just normal life with normal people and how they change from one year to the next.

One of these highlights of this for me was the little cultural references to remind you that this was filmed over such a long span of time, various technology comes and goes, as well as popular moves, books and trends.  This small additions were something I found myself looking out for and enjoying the moment when I recognised something that meant we had moved forward a year!!

Really great movie that I'm sure will get the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday. <--- Scrap this as my post went out after the Oscars and it DIDN'T win Best Picture! Although, I'm kind of glad Birdman took it because no one expected it...

Thursday 26 February 2015

Review: The Theory of Everything (2014)

I have been waiting for this film since I first heard it was coming out, I had a feeling Eddie Redmayne would do a good job and I was not disappointed!

The Theory of Everything is based on the book 'Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen' written by Stephen Hawking's first wife Jane Hawking.  The film starts with Hawking's (Eddie Redmayne) life at Cambridge through to his he first marriage to Jane (Felicity Jones) and publication of A Brief History of Time all while dealing with his on-going battle with Motor Neuron Disease.   

I would have liked to have seen more about Hawking's childhood, the time before he was diagnosed, however after finding out it was based on the book by Jane Hawking, it stands to reason why it only starts when he meets her.  I also would have liked more content on his work in developing theory as it all seemed a little skimmed over, but I suppose from his partners perspective, she wouldn't necessarily have known the full ins and outs of what he did.

I know very little about Stephen Hawking, but I too would have liked to know more about his life when he was younger, but I do understand that it's a book adaptation.

None of this however, took away from the film.  I was fully engrossed from beginning to end, I knew Redmayne would do a good job but he just blew me away, at more than one point during the movie, I forgot it was Redmayne and actually thought it was Stephen Hawking.  He really captured the twinkle in his eye that Hawking always seems to have, if I ever see an interview or cameo from Hawking he shows such a cheeky sense of humour and that was really captured in the film.  I've never been a massive fan of Felicity Jones but she captured this part so well, personally not 'Oscar worthy' well but a stellar performance and the chemistry between the two leads is perfect.

I doubt it was intentional, but Felicity Jones' character kind of irritated me a little. I don't really know why, I have no idea how difficult her life must have been, but still. Sorry.

Although, I very much enjoyed the film and it was good to learn more about Hawking's personal life rather than his work, I don't think it is Oscar worthy.  Redmayne's performance however, is without a doubt 'Best Actor' material, if he doesn't win the Oscar after than performance I will be writing a strongly worded letter to the Academy Awards Board!!!!

Brilliant film, avoids being too soppy and keeps the pace with light-hearted humour and cheekiness while still defining the enormity of both Hawking's work and illness.

It was a lovely film, but it didn't blow me away. Eddie Redmayne however was brilliant, and as much as I would love Birdman to win everything, Eddie does deserve an Oscar for this performance. In fact, if it wasn't for Eddie, I doubt I would have enjoyed it.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Review: Whiplash (2014)

Along with The Theory of Everything, this was my most anticipated Oscar tipped movie so I had to see it before the ceremony on 22nd February.  I'm definitely making the most of the Unlimited Cinema Card this month!! (For those not UK based, a local cinema here in the UK does an Unlimited card that means you can go as many times as you like for a monthly fee!)

When I went to see The Imitation Game last November, we had trailers for almost every other Oscar bait films. It was the first time I saw American Sniper, and realised I held my breath throughout the whole trailer. Typically, I missed that one and won’t get a chance now till the DVD release. When I saw the Whiplash trailer however, I laughed. So did the rest of the cinema. How could they make a drama out of a kid playing drums?

Andrew (Miles Teller) is a promising drummer who is attending Shaffer conservatory, the best music programme in the US.  He is hand picked by Terence Fletcher (JK Simmons) the most respected professor at the school for his studio band.  Fletcher shows no remorse for bullying and intimidating his students to be great which pushes Andrew to near obsession to be the best.

I think I held my breath for this whole film, I was on the edge of my seat willing Andrew to succeed and for Fletcher to give him a break.  I was so involved in the movie, I very nearly shouted at the screen, cheered and clapped along with Andrew's journey, I felt like part of it myself.  I thought I knew where the story was heading from one scene to the next and I was promptly proved wrong, it twisted and turned on itself, by the end I had no idea what to expect. 

According to IMDB, Whiplash is one of the lowest grossing movies ever to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. It’s also part of a huge debate as to whether it should be classed as an Original or Adapted Screenplay, although the Academy are adamant that it’s Adapted. I can see the story from both sides really. Whiplash started out as a short movie at Sundance (and won), and that’s the reason it’s fallen under Adapted Screenplay.  But after some further research, I found out that they only released the short film in order to generate funds to make the feature length movie - the plot thickens....

JK Simmons was incredible and truly terrifying as Professor Fletcher, I was willing Andrew to do better to avoid him having to glare at him or throw something.  He had me on the edge of my seat and didn't falter from his alter-ego for even a second.  Miles Teller was a close second but nonetheless brilliant (it's hard to believe he only learnt to play the drums for this film!!), his steely determination to be the best is portrayed through (literal) blood, sweat and tears makes you sympathise with him to a certain degree but his inability to see beyond his success limits his likability.

Is there an actor out there who looks exactly like Miles Teller? I could have sworn I’d seen him in a few things, but after checking out his filmography, apparently I must be thinking of someone else (he was in That Awkward Moment?!).  Anyway, I thought he was brilliant in this. Although I was rooting for him, he wasn’t a completely likeable character. He’s lived in the shadow of his brothers all his life it seems, and his parents don’t understand his aspirations as a musician. His treatment of Nicole was uncalled for though, and he’s too cocky. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants however, which is admirable if nothing else.

J.K. Simmons on the other hand, absolutely blew me away. He’s the only actor who’s ever made me laugh out loud, and then sh*t my pants in the same minute, if you’ll excuse the expression. Terence is a character you love to hate. Every scene he was in, I was holding my breath waiting for him to just explode. Simply amazing!

The songs used throughout the movie, in the studio band, were perfect for this.  Caravan particularly showed how hard Fletcher could be on his students, lining up three drummers to sweat and bleed for hours to reach the 'his' tempo - the whole scene had me on edge waiting to see if he was going to snap or just keep making them play.  It was worse that a horror movie!

Without ruining the ending for anyone, the credits took me by complete surprise and I could help but cry ‘Noooo!’ because I just didn’t want it to end. I wanted to see the reaction to what had just happened! Whiplash is one of the most intense films I have ever seen. I might not have been able to appreciate the musical academic parts, but it was still one hell of a ride.

Brilliant casting and a twist and turning story of fear, pride and the will to succeed no matter what.

Monday 23 February 2015

Blind Spot: Schindler's List (1993)

Just in the nick of time, again, is our Blind Spot post for February. I really need to not make a habit out of this, but Oscars season has just messed up my entire blogging schedule as well as film-viewing schedule! This month I watched Schindler’s List, over two viewings thanks to it’s eye watering 195 min runtime.

Schindler’s List is the kind of film I shy away from instantly, which is the main reason I made sure it was on the Blind Spot list. The second reason is that people keep telling me Liam Neeson never used to just play Liam Neeson! So anyway, the film itself largely focuses on Oskar Schindler (Neeson), who sets up a factory in Poland during World War II, creating hundreds of jobs and hope for the Jews that are seeking refuge there.

This is only the second black and white film I’ve ever seen, and just like before, it seemed odd at first but once the story kicked in I completely forgot about the lack of colour. Until a scene involving a huge table full of food - I couldn’t work out what was there and that felt a little weird*. Oh, and the little girl in the red coat of course, how can I forget her? Okay, so maybe this is my first black, white and red film.


Schindler's List was a real rollercoaster of emotions for me. I won't try and pretend that I understood everything that was going on, because similar to my last Blind Spot, there was just so much going on. I also know very little about World War II thanks to my absolute ignorance to History class back in school. Thankfully though I watched this with my fiance who let me pause every now and again so I could double check what was happening/

The ending was ruined a little for me by everyone telling me to be ready with a box of tissues. My mind had already geared myself up for the worst and as heartbreaking as the end was, I think it would have affected me more if I was clueless.


It was also really interesting to see a very young Ralph Fiennes, having recently seen him in the Oscar-winning Grand Budapest Hotel. He was chilling, and I look forward to seeing more of him.

All in all, despite it's length, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Several scenes were extremely uncomfortable to watch, but they added to the story perfectly. It's one of those films I will never forget, but will probably never watch again either, if that makes any sense.

* I’m writing this whole post after two and a half hours sleep thanks to the Oscars, so you’ll have to forgive me for going completely off track.

Sunday 22 February 2015

2015 Academy Awards - The Flick Chicks Oscar Predictions

Both me and Allie challenged ourselves to watch all of the main films that were included in the Oscar Nominations this year and as I have now convinced Allie to stay up late and watch the Academy Awards live together, I thought we should put together our predictions for the night.  We haven't included all the categories because there are some that we have no idea about so it seems a little pointless pulling a winner out of thin air, but we have covered all the major categories so not to worry.

Best Picture - Nominees

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Jenna's Prediction - I want Whiplash to win but I think Boyhood will take it.
Allie's Prediction - I want it to go to Birdman but I too think Boyhood will take it.

Best Actor - Nominees
Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch - Imitation Game
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

Jenna's Prediction - Eddie Redmayne (I have already stated that I will eat my hat if this doesn't happen, he was just incredible.)

Allie's Prediction - I would love for there to be a big shock on the night, but I think they already engraved Eddie Redmayne's name on it.

Best Actress - Nominees

Marion Cotillard - Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild

Jenna's Prediction - I haven't seen all of these yet but from what I know/have seen, I would guess it will be Julianne Moore and so far I would have to agree.
Allie's Prediction - Screw the lot, Rosamund Pike deserves it so much it hurts! It's going to be Julianne Moore though...she won everything else...

Best Supporting Actor - Nominees

Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

Jenna's Prediction - Initially, it was Edward Norton for me but after seeing Whiplash, there is no question it should be J.K. Simmons.
Allie's Prediction - I wouldn't mind if Edward Norton won it to be honest, but I think it'll be J.K. Simmons.

Best Supporting Actress - Nominees

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Laura Dern - Wild
Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods

Jenna's Prediction - I would love for Emma Stone to win, I really did love her performance in Birdman but I think it's probably going to go to Patricia Arquette.
Allie's Prediction - Pleeeaaase let Emma Stone or Keira Knightly win! We're actually agreeing a lot for a change, I think it'll go to Patricia ArquetteStop copying me!! ;-)

Best Animated Feature - Nominees
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Jenna's Prediction - If it's not How to Train your Dragon 2, I will eat my hat (again!).  I did love Big Hero 6 but HTTYD2's animation is head and shoulders above the rest.
Allie's Prediction -
 I really, really, really wasn't blown away by How to Train your Dragon 2, but as long as The Boxtrolls doesn't win I don't care. I'm boycotting this whole category, The Lego Movie should have won. Mature!!

Best Cinematography - Nominees
Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman
Robert Yeoman - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski - Ida
Dick Pope - Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins - Unbroken

Jenna's Prediction - It has to be Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman.
Allie's Prediction - Yep, this has to go to Emmanuel Lubezki.

Best Costume Design - Nominees
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Jenna's Prediction - Maleficent had some fantastic costume designs but I think The Grand Budapest Hotel will take this one.
Allie's Prediction - I want some love for The Grand Budapest Hotel!

 Best Director - Nominees
Alexandro G. Iñárritu - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum - The Imitation Game

Jenna's Prediction - Birdman, the direction was just so different to anything I've seen before.
Allie's Prediction - I'd like Alexandro G. 
Iñárritu to win, but it'll go to Richard Linklater.

Best Film Editing - Nominees
American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Jenna's Prediction - Is it just me or should Birdman be in here?! But as it's not I will go with Boyhood.
Allie's Prediction - 
 I think Whiplash will win this one.

Best Foreign Language Film - Nominees
Wild Tales

Jenna's Prediction - I know I am terrible but I haven't seen or heard of a single one of these so I am going to pull a guess out of thin air and go with Tangerines.
Allie's Prediction - Oh...I haven't watched any of these but I had a little read up of them. Let's go with Leviathan.

Best Make Up and Hair Styling - Nominees
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Jenna's Prediction - I really would love to see Guardians of the Galaxy win something but The Grand Budapest Hotel will take this.
Allie's Prediction - It would be awesome if Foxcatcher won this, but I think it'll go to The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Best Original Score - Nominees
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

Jenna's Prediction - I am terrible for noticing the score in movies and i'm a bit behind on seeing everything in this list so I will hazard a guess with The Imitation Game.
Allie's Prediction - I STILL haven't seen Interstellar! I think The Imitation Game will win this though.


Best Original Song - Nominees
“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again

Jenna's Prediction - I am almost certain that "Glory" will win this one BUT I am fully rooting for "Everything is Awesome" - and now its stuck in my head!
Allie's Prediction - Haven't seen Selma yet but everyone thinks Glory will win so I'll hop on that. No love at all for The Lego Movie...

Best Production Design - Nominees
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Jenna's Prediction - I would love for Into the Woods to take this home but I doubt its going to happen when up against The Grant Budapest Hotel which I think will take the prize.
Allie's Prediction - 
 Surely The Grand Budapest Hotel?!

Best Sound Editing - Nominees
American Sniper
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Jenna's Prediction - Here's the thing, I don't know much about sound editing but I would guess at Birdman
Allie's Prediction - 
 I'm clueless in this category! Let's go with American Sniper...I haven't picked that one yet for anything!

Best Sound Mixing - Nominees
American Sniper

Jenna's Prediction - Anything to do with sound (and where they are nominated) has to go to Whiplash.
Allie's Prediction - Again clueless, but I agree with Jenna's logic so let's go with Whiplash.

Best Visual Effects - Nominees
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Jenna's Prediction - I would love Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to win this, their effects are incredible but it's likely to go to Interstellar.
Allie's Prediction - Although I haven't yet seen it, I still think it'll probably be Interstellar.

Best Adapted Screenplay - Nominees
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything

Jenna's Prediction - For me it's The Theory of Everything, I had to Google Whiplash because I didn't realise it was an adapted screenplay, however there seems to be a lot of anger toward the subject so I'm going to steer clear.
Allie's Prediction - I'd have liked to see Gone Girl here, but in it's absence I'll pick The Imitation Game.

Best Original Screenplay - Nominees
The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jenna's Prediction - I would love for The Grand Budapest Hotel to win this but I suspect it will be Birdman.
Allie's Prediction - 
 Chant with me now...Birdman, Birdman, Birdman...

Thanks to timezones, Jenna and I will be staying awake until the sun comes back up again to watch the awards live! And then I'll be off to work...please spare a thought for me, haha! To confirm, the awards start at 1.30am local time and finish at 5am - urgh!!

Saturday 21 February 2015

Review: The Imitation Game (2014)

It’s taken me weeks to get around to writing up a review for The Imitation Game. In my defense, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s fault. I’m mad with him. First he gets engaged, then he’s going to be a father, and then I find out that although a date for the Sherlocked convention has finally been announced, it’ll cost at least £600 to stand a proper chance of meeting him. Pff! That picture of him though after the BAFTAs, giving his suit jacket to his fiancee to keep her warm? Swoon. Okay, all is forgiven. I can’t stay mad with that face.

The Imitation Game is the real life story of how Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) cracked the German enigma code during World War II with a team of fellow mathematicians. After paying virtually no attention in History class during school, I was particularly interested in watching this, and if you’ll excuse me making jokes in poor taste, you could say I walked into the cinema spoiler free.

After watching the trailers (multiple times) I was a little worried that Benedict would come across too ‘Sherlock-y’ and that he was at risk of being typecast, but that worry dissolved fairly quickly. Turing and Sherlock are two very different characters when you get a proper glimpse at them both. You tend to laugh at Sherlock, as he is completely oblivious to the world around him at times, whereas the rare funny moments that Turing has gets you laughing with him. His witty banter with his superiors was absolutely hilarious!

Another surprise for me was Keira Knightley. I love her unconditionally, but I understand the gripes of others about her always playing the same role and how she can come across. I thought she was delightful in this, and full of character. She bounces off Benedict really well and I’d love to see them both star together sometime in the near future.

I didn’t think a war drama could or would ever grip me the way The Imitation Game did. I was fully immersed during the first half and enjoyed the character developments, and then found myself on the edge of my seat during the second half. Perhaps not surprisingly, I was ugly sobbing at the very end, and I walked out of the screen in a thoughtful and heartbroken daze. It’s disgusting in a way, that this is part of my country’s history, the way that Alan Turing was treated.

All in all, I was blown away by The Imitation Game and enjoyed it even more than I thought I would. I hope it gets some Oscar wins later this month, because it really deserves some.