Opinion Battles Round 14 – Favourite Leonardo DiCaprio Role

Its time for Round 14 of Opinion Battles! This time we’re talking our favorite Leonardo DiCaprio role! Talk about a hard choice, right? He’s done so many and almost all of them are really great. While I can’t say that Romeo and Juliet is my favorite movie of his, I did think that his Romeo was done really well. I always have a soft spot for that movie because of his role in it.
Everyone put out some solid choices! Go check it out and drop your vote on our selections! ūüôā

Movie Reviews 101

Opinion Battles Round 14

Favourite Leonardo DiCaprio Role

In the year we finally got to see Leonardo DiCaprio take home the Oscar on his 5th attempt it could easily be argued just how iconic he has become to the modern era of cinema. Having only 37 credits to his name we have seen DiCaprio work with some of the best directors in the business today. We will be picking our favourites of his career to so.

If you want to take part in the next round of Opinion Battles we will be looking at our Favourite Pixar Movies, send you choice to moviereviews101@yahoo.co.ukby Sunday 24th July 2016.

Darren ‚Äď Movie Reviews 101

Cobb ‚Äď Inceptioncobb

Cobb is the leader of a group that break into people’s minds to steal information but this time he must risk everything to planet an idea so he can go back to…

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Recap: Oscars 2016!

Following tradition of the last two years, here’s a little recap! I wasn’t sure if I’d end up catching Oscars but we changed up our plans and ended up joining my mom for sit down and dinner together to enjoy the ceremony. My conclusion is that I make better guesses when I haven’t seen any of the movies than when I do. ¬†I guess bias comes into play at that point and it affects my judgement.

I am glad that Mad Max: Fury Road did so well because it was well deserved. ¬†I gave a personal standing ovation in my mom’s dining room to Ex Machina for winning Visual Effects. ¬†There was a bit of cringing when I felt like Sam Smith was about to go off-tune and he looked nervous as heck to be up there but his speech was inspiring and he looked genuinely enthused to win it even if probably Lady Gaga’s song would have been the win that was deserved but I don’t care much for the “Original Song” category. ¬†The only one I was genuinely a little angry at was Mad Max winning Costume Design because Cinderella may not have been a great movie but it was all about costumes while I mean how many costumes were there for Mad Max. ¬†On a happier note, I am happy that Mark Rylance won for supporting actor. ¬†Even if I didn’t see The Revenant, I was fairly certain Innaritu would win for Best Director and Leo for Best Actor because just from the trailers, it looked like the sort of movie that had the calibre and achievement to rightfully earn it. However, I did end up catching Spotlight over the weekend right before Oscars and even posted my review for it and I’m telling you that to me, it was a justified Best Picture winner. ¬†I don’t think I’ve agreed much to these winners in the last few years but then I haven’t caught up with the majority of them either but Spotlight really connected with me in presenting their story and the content. ¬†Out of all those movies, as wonderful and fantastic as they were, Brooklyn didn’t stand a chance in my book and even The Revenant probably wouldn’t have the depth of telling a story that reflected an issue that is maybe probably unfortunately still present today. For none of the other movies I saw in the Best Picture did have as much of a discussion at my home than Spotlight either and we finished that movie at 2am on Saturday night or something (just to give you an idea).

This year I decided to do my Oscars recap of the winners in advance and now, let’s check out the Top 5 Best Dresses.

Oscars 2016

Cate Blanchett

Oscars 2016

Charlize Theron

Oscars 2016

Alicia Vikander

Oscars 2016

Saoirse Ronan

Oscars 2016

Priyanka Chopra

Elegant, beauty, grace: These ladies all had it. ¬†Not to mention, Cate Blanchett picked the perfect dress for the category she was presenting for: Costume Design. Just look at the intricate flowers on her dress! Its amazing! And kudos for Charlize Theron pulling off that style because normally, I’m not a fan of that cut of the deep V plunge (or whatever you call it) but she accessorized well and made it look very nice.

And then for some great moments that I liked quite a bit.

Jacob Tremblay & Star Wars

Oscars 2016

Mark Ruffalo Winking for his Nomination

Oscars 2016

Michael Keaton Fist Pump for Spotlight Win

Oscars 2016

I was equally as happy as Michael Keaton was when I heard that Spotlight won.  This reaction is just priceless!

Brie Larson in Awe

Oscars 2016

And her speech thanking everyone including the movie-goers! It warms my heart even if I didn’t see it in theatres and bought it on the Play store ūüėČ

Leonardio diCaprio Winning Speech

Oscars 2016

Leonardo diCaprio winning was *almost* set in stone. ¬†I was pretty sure he made a solid performance even if I only saw trailers. ¬†However, he didn’t just win an Oscar. ¬†He also delivered a meaningful speech and the best part was his final line about not taking the planet for granted, he wouldn’t take his Oscar win for granted.

I think to wrap it up this year, Lady Gaga’s song deserved more recognition. ¬†I haven’t found the time to watch The Hunting Ground but it does intrigue me. While I can’t find the video for the Oscars performance she made and I only saw a snippet as I left my mom’s at that point and only had snippets online. ¬†The song holds true meaning that deserves to be heard.

That’s it for Oscars 2016! It was a great year with some outstanding movies this year! ūüôā
Did you watch the Oscars 2016? What were your fave moments? Did any winners surprise you? Any disappointments?

The Departed (2006)

A round of applause please! I made it through The Departed finally! I figured it was the stylish way to end off the Infernal Affairs trilogy review and finally get this crossed off my to-do list.

Lets check it out!

the departed posterDirector: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin

An undercover state cop who has infiltrated an Irish gang and a mole in the police force working for the same mob race to track down and identify each other before being exposed to the enemy, after both sides realize their outfit has a rat.-IMDB

The Departed is inspired by Infernals Affairs in case you didn’t know before. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it has a style that cannot be replaced or doubted. I’ve always been a fan of his despite sometimes really not liking the length especially in gang/crime movies. The Departed really could have benefit from being shorter. The first half was so slow. I literally wanted to cry because it felt like it would never end. And then the halfway point hit and the majority of the events were almost identical to Infernal Affairs. ¬†I’m not saying thats a bad thing but I guess because I found the original to be genius, this one didn’t have as much of an impact.Does that make sense?

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However, like Infernal Affairs, it has a very strong cast. I may not be very knowledgable about Matt Damon but I have always liked Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson. They both did well. I still think Leonardo did better than Matt in some ways. The best has to go to Jack Nicholson in his role as the bad guy, the leaderof the Irish gang. He had this outrageous unpredictable nature and that gave immense life to the movie. I couldn’t really picture another actor taking up that role in having such an impact. Another actor that I loved was Mark Wahlberg. He was completely an asshole but it worked well to give the movie some conflict and friction.

the departed vera farmiga

These movies are all about the boys but the difference is in the love story behind this. In this one, it just has one lady, but who wants to compete with the lovely Vera Farmiga? She really can act in any role. Her character brought in nice balance especially because she was kind of like the intermediary between the undercover and mole. Her one character replacing the two separate ones gave The Departed a nice little twist that I thought worked very well.

the departed mark matt

Casting and cinematography are definitely not my issues with this. My issue is really the story itself. I can get that background check would lead to Leonardo’s character being discovered and his getting kicked out. But although its not an obvious connection, Matt’s was really visible ever since he was a kid. How was it not apparent? Maybe its just me being nitpicky but I felt on some levels this was just a little too over the top for my liking.

I really don’t have much to say anymore. Overall, The Departed was an okay remake of its original. It had an awesome cast that brought life to a stretched out story. Although it did give it a new twist to it, I’m still debating if I really liked the ending. I know I’m the minority who doesn’t think this was absolutely great but thats okay. We can’t agree with everything ūüėČ

What did you think of The Departed?

Book Review: The Great Gatsby and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I first bought this book in anticipation for the movie release earlier this summer. ¬†However, I didn’t end up seeing it. ¬†I will eventually though, because I can actually see Leonardo DiCaprio doing the role of Gatsby. ¬†So, this book I bought was on special with short stories after the main feature, The Great Gatsby.

the great gatsby and other storiesThe Great Gatsy is about the world of post war New York City through the eyes of our narrator Nick Carraway, who has moved next door to the popular and well-known but with lots of mystery background story Jay Gatsby.  Nick also attempts to re-enter into the world of his sister Daisy and her husband Tom and is set up with the acquaintance of tennis player Jordan Baker.  The story revolves around his re-adapting to this world of wild parties and understanding those he cares and loves through their relationships and love affairs (and more) plus the notion of how things are treated by different people around him, as he learns the lessons of life and reality.

Honestly, The Great Gatsby is not completely for me. ¬†I found the flow a bit weird and there was times I either lost my focus or just didn’t get what was going on and had to go back and re-read the whole page to get an idea. The general idea of the story was pretty good though. ¬†Nick Carraway reminded me a bit of a lost boy, not unlike The Perks of Being a Wallflower¬†‘s Charlie, where he saw the world in a very different light as to what it was. ¬†He wasn’t ever sure about what was the right course of action and he would think a lot or not speak up enough, even when he felt something wasn’t completely right. ¬†He observed more than he acted. ¬†Gatsby was a bit more interesting as his appearance wasn’t always there and we would listen to more rumors than actual facts right off the bat. ¬†Then, when we get his true motivations for his actions, we get a better idea of where this story is going. Plus, the era its set in really brings out the glamour of the everything going on.

I think some time down the road, I will read this again and get a better understanding. ¬†What this novel has going is that its short and straight to the point, even though the writing style is different from what I’m used to, I think its still worth a read. ūüôā

Onto the short stories!

I’m going to spare you all a synopsis of all the stories but it included the following titles: Absolution, Love in the Night, At Your Age, Family in the Wind, Three Hours Between Planes, The Lees of Happiness, The Camel’s Back, Financing Finnegan, Design in Plaster, What a Handsome Pair!

All the short stories have this twist or at times, bittersweet or open endings.  I think I might have enjoyed some of the short stories more than the actual feature.  My favorite ones would have to be Love in the Night, Three Hours Between Planes, The Lees of Happiness and honorable mention to What a Handsome Pair! This last one, I have a bit of mixed feelings towards how the story was but still quite enjoyable!

Overall, The Great Gatsby is still a novel worth reading. ¬†The characters are fantastic and its a quick, direct and engaging read. ¬†Although the style of writing didn’t appeal to me as much as others, it was still quite entertaining. ¬†The additional short stories were pretty fun to read.

Have you read some of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s other works? Any that you would recommend to me?

Part 2: Thrillers

Now that we’ve warmed up with the nice family oriented Halloween flicks, we’re getting ready to hit the hardcore stuff. ¬†Of course, before we go all out and jump into a week of sleepless nights, I’ll hit us off with some thrillers (all kinds except horror). ¬†Just a bit scary at times, dark at time, messed up at times…you know what I mean, right? I love thrillers so it was really a toss-up on what I could put in here. ¬†Why do I like it more than others? Because of the suspense in most of them, there’s always something to try and figure out. ¬†Whats around the corner? Will there be a twist? A good thriller will let you buy into it, let it lead you on and bring you some occasional scare. ¬†I did manage to get my hands on two new movies that this Thriller Marathon will include.

Here’s 8 THRILLERS to bring up the intensity till next week when we hit the intense horror segment.

1) DISTURBIA (2007)

Director: D.J. Caruso

Cast: Shia Leboeuf, Sarah Roemer, Carrie-Anne Moss, David Morse

Plot summary: Kale Brecht (Shia Leboeuf) gets home arrest for punching his Spanish teacher in class for the summer. ¬†Kale’s mother (Carrie-Anne Moss) cuts off all his internet and TV leaving him with nothing to do. ¬†As a result, he starts spying on the neighbors. ¬†When the news starts talking about missing women, who were later found dead, he starts suspecting one of his neighbors, Robert Turner (David Morse). ¬†With his best friend Ronnie (Aaron Yoo) and his new neighbor, Ashley (Sarah Roemer), they start spying and following Turner.

I was surprised actually that this movie was good. ¬†I got it because it was a thriller (and it was on special). ¬†Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Shia Leboeuf. ¬†The only movie I enjoyed him in was Transformers, but thats just because I enjoyed that movie a lot. ¬†I checked the director’s background. ¬†D.J. Caruso did Taking Lives before Disturbia. I was alright with that movie. ¬†Taking Lives was also a surprisingly good thriller. One I had debated to put on this list actually. ¬†Just for information sake, D.J. Caruso did Eagle Eye and I am Number Four afterwards. ¬†Eagle Eye was alright, but man, I am Number Four…I’m speechless. ¬†That movie was crap. ¬†Maybe I’ll review it one day after I read the source material. ¬†Anyways, all I can say, this was a fine piece of work by D.J. Caruso after I saw what his later movies were. ¬†This movie is a mix of humor, a bit of teen romance, and suspense. ¬†The deal with thrillers is that you are willing to buy into it every time you rewatch it. ¬†I bought into it every time I saw this. This movie is pretty fun thriller and its a great way to start off my thrillers portion.

2) THE OTHERS (2001)

Directed by: Alejandro Amenabar

Cast: Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan, Christopher Eccleston

Plot: This movie starts in 1945 Channel Islands in a big family house. ¬†Grace (Nicole Kidman) is a mother of two photosensitive children, Anne and Nicholas. ¬†She is confined to the house under strict rules to protect her children. ¬†Her husband (Christopher Eccleston) has gone off to war a few years back and is not determined whether he is alive or not. ¬†We also get joined by 3 servants that come to help her take care of the house: Mrs. Mills (Fionnula Flanagan), Mr. Tuttle (Erik Skyes) and Lydia. ¬†Suddenly, mysterious things start happening in the house. ¬†Her daughter claims that she’s been seeing others in the house. ¬†The house seems to be invaded by others.

This is a really suspenseful movie.  Its full of startling moments and your mind will keep thinking of what would happen next.  Nicole Kidman is superb as always and does great a playing a distressed and panicked yet protective mother.  Fionnula Flanagan is just amazing.  Her acting was captivating to watch and so very believable.  This is a mystery thriller that carries you deep into the plot and wondering whats around the next corner.  Keeps us wondering what is going on in the house and whether it is haunted.

3) SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)

Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins

Plot: A young FBI agent in training Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is sent to interrogate an imprisoned psychopath/psychiatrist, Hannibal”the Cannibal” Lecter, in hopes of helping solve the serial killings by a man nicknamed Buffalo Bill. ¬†Dr. Lecter decides to help Starling in exchange for her sharing her own story at¬†the same time.

This movie is the first thriller I ever saw.  It was deep and disturbing in so many ways.  I finally bought this one the other day and added it into this marathon.  It may not pack in a lot of startling sudden scares but the chilling role of Dr. Lecter and the serial killings itself is enough to make it impact the audience mentally.  There really is nothing more I can express than the fact that its the first thriller I ever saw, its also one of my favorites.  After seeing this, I now I have the desire to watch Red Dragon and Hannibal, both equally great thrillers.  No one can portray a cannibal and psychopath as well as Anthony Hopkins ever will.

4) SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Leonardo diCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley

Plot: U.S. Marshal Edward (aka Teddy) Daniels (Leonardo diCaprio) get assigned with a new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to investigate after a woman, both prisoner and mental patient, disappears mysteriously from her room with no trace on Shutter Island.  This is an island where it is a maximum security prison ward for highly dangerous mentally unstable felons.  We soon learn that Teddy himself has wanted to go there to investigate something else for his own personal reasons.  It is here that the story unfolds.

This is a new one that I picked up the other day at HMV because it was on special and well, I’m a big Leonardo diCaprio. ¬†This is an awesome thriller. ¬†I haven’t seen one this good in a really long time. ¬†I’m a huge fan of all the actors and I think Leonardo diCaprio is at the top of his game here. ¬†Of course, it helps that he’s partnered with Martin Scorsese, a really wonderful actor. ¬†This one made my boyfriend and I ¬†ask a lot of ¬†“What’s next?” around every corner and after everything that happened. ¬†We were guessing and thinking about every next moment that could happen. ¬†It was some thrill ride, I tell you. ¬†One you definitely shouldn’t miss!

5) ORPHAN (2009)

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

Plot: A couple, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) loses an unborn child and decides to adopt a 9 year old girl, Esther. ¬†Esther is originally from Russia and her last family had died in a fire where she barely made it out alive. ¬†Kate and John both think that Esther is smart, kind and well-mannered at first sight and she gets along with their two children, Max and Daniel. ¬†Slowly, there seems to be “something wrong with Esther”. ¬†Unusual things start happening around her.

This movie is really chilling thriller. ¬†I’m serious, I haven’t been scared and startled and disturbed in a while. ¬†I had to spend an hour after the movie to watch some comedy to relax my mind. ¬†Its just really awesome. ¬†It packs in a lot of “Oh, shit” moment. ¬†I haven’t seen anything else by this director but man, he does really well. ¬†This story is believable and the girl who plays Esther is amazing. ¬†The little girl that plays Max, who is deaf, is also the little girl in Resident Evil: Retribution playing Becky. ¬†If you haven’t seen this one, out of my whole list, I think you definitely should check this one out. ¬†It’ll pack in some startling experience.

6) PAPRIKA (2006)

Director: Satoshi Kon

Plot: “This is your brain on anime”. ¬†Thats generally what it is I guess. ¬†Paprika is a girl who can enter into your dreams through a device created called DC Mini. ¬†This device can record and let you rewatch the dreams you’ve had. ¬†When the device is stolen from the Institute of Psychiatric Research, the three scientists that invented it try to search for it with the help of Paprika. ¬†The thief is causing a lot of chaos by entering into people’s minds and thoughts while they are awake and distract them with dreams of their own or others.

Last week was for animation but this anime is deep and definitely NOT for children. ¬†For one, its rated R. ¬†Well, why it fits here its because its categorized as an animated thriller. ¬†It was some thrill alright. ¬†I was confused and deep in thought while watching this one. ¬†The essence in this may be partially in the animation but I think what captivates us is the story itself and the mystery behind it. ¬†I guess its a bit like Inception actually. ¬†Its pretty well laid out as a story and you will be wondering about how things will unfold. ¬†I’m definitely going to give this one a second run to better understand what was going on in entirety. ¬†The whole concept between light and darkness, the merge between reality and dreams.

7) BURIED (2010)

Director: Rodrigo Cortes

Cast: Ryan Reynolds

Plot: A trucker in Iraq wakes up to find himself buried underground with only a lighter and a cell phone.  He then fights to learn what has got him in that position and figure out a way to get out before its too late.

That is as simple as I can go with this movie without ruining it for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet. ¬†I personally got this movie because I saw the trailer and thought it was awesome, before that I hadn’t even known its existence. ¬†So yes, Ryan Reynolds is amazing in this one man show. ¬†The other person he interacts with is on the phone. ¬†It reflected really well the urgency and gripping turns in the story. ¬†I really loved this movie (most of the time). It was quite the enjoyable movie experience. ¬†I always appreciated movies where its just one man show movies (first one I saw was probably Phone booth).

8) SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Plot: A child psychologist, Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) takes on the task of helping a young boy, Cole Sear, who claims that he can see dead people. These dead people are those who don’t know that they have died and continues to haunt him. ¬†Cole’s mom (Toni Collette) desperately wants to help rid his son of his problems.

I’m ending this with a bang. ¬†After all, according to that poster its the #1 Thriller of All Time. ¬†This thriller was crazy awesome. I think it was the best movie which we everyone knows has the best twist ending ever. ¬†I never saw it coming ever. ¬†I was also younger when I first saw this movie. ¬†Deal with movies with twist, is its rewatchability has to be that the actual movie plot has something you can take from it or else, you can’t watch it again. ¬†This movie packs in some good acting and fantastic plot. It was the movie that put Night Shyamalan on the map (lets not discuss what happened afterwards), but this movie was great. It gave us deep emotions and some nice scares. I’m pretty the majority of you have seen this, but if you haven’t, you have to!

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT!

After watching this whole line-up, I’m sure that you all notice that its actually not really too scary. ¬†I really didn’t have time to watch more and/or make another list. ¬†I don’t think it needs much more though. ¬†I forgot to grab Se7en off my boyfriend’s collection at his place, if not, I’d definitely add that in. ¬†I also wanted to put in Butterfly Effect, but I had lent it out. ¬†Those were the original last 2 that was to complete the list. ¬†Overall, the current list already have pretty good films. ¬†Some do pack in some scary moments and others balance with a bit more thinking, a bit more profound ideas to ponder a bit on maybe.

For all of you that want to pack in some fright, I got my boyfriend to help me out with the next one. ¬†So, it should definitely be intense. ¬† I’ll explain to you all why I need this extra help next week. ¬†In the meantime, we will work out a way to choose the best horror movies in our collective movie collections. Next list will be top 10 Intense Horror. ¬†Hopefully you’ll come back to check it out!

As for this list, any that you disagree with? Didn’t enjoy as much as I did? Would you put anything extra? I love watching thrillers and would love to get some suggestions for ones that I haven’t seen.