Monday, January 31, 2011

AMERICAN IDOL COUNTDOWN: 20 Best 'Idol' Auditions

Four episodes down - two more by the end of this week - and we're more or less half way done with the auditions for Season 10. Yes, that was incredibly fast!

But before everything comes to a blur again, why not relive the 20 Best 'Idol' Auditions EVER! To some, sure, this is possibly the less exciting part of the competition because more often than not the show tends to focus on the awful and embarrassing auditions. But, I have to say that there's always a good mix of good, undiscovered talents. Seriously.

Now, this list is a bit biased, because, well, it's mine. Now, my methods aren't scientific, but I do take things like voice, personality and maybe over-cuteness and gorgeousness into account. Ha! Extra points were also given arbitrarily, based on things like song choices and other abilities. So, forgive me if you believe my reasons are trivial.

20. Kady Malloy
Season 7
True, her Unchained Melody audition wasn't all that, but her spot-on impersonation of Britney Spears were all sorts of awesomeness right there. Oh, and she unknowingly "copied" Carrie Underwood's tone and voice when she sang her crossover hit Before He Cheats. So, anyone who can imitate a wide variety of people from Spears to Underwood is good in my book.

19. Josiah Leming
Season 7
No doubt about it, this kid has talent. Yes, his vocals weren’t Idol material by any stretch, but they were compelling, to say the least. I really think he had something rare and special. Too bad, he got cut just before the Final 24 that season.

18. Taylor Hicks
Season 5
He was a beath of fresh air during the auditions of Season 5. As common as he appeared, his 'presence' demanded attention. It was stated that Idol never had any other contestant like Taylor Hicks and they were right! Taylor, undeniably, had his own style that's already noticeable since his audition.

17. Jordin Sparks
Season 6
Her audition was very good. Great control. Amazing range. Bubly Personality. Jordin showing off a monster of a voice for a 16-year old was pretty impressive.

16. David Archuleta
Season 7
During the audition, his big backstory was that he had vocal paralysis a few years ago. But really, he didn't need any of that because his version of Waiting On The World To Change was great - compelete with that distinct tone. Plus, he looked uber cute with that general perkiness.

15. Adam Lambert
Season 8
His clear and pleasing take on ''Bohemian Rhapsody'' drew one of Simon's oldest and most dreaded critiques - ''theatrical.'' Which I wondered, aren't most Queen songs theatrical? But that's beside the point, I thought Adam out-sang and out-charmed possibly half of the Idol hopefuls that season. And aside from the fact that he had some serious mad vocal range and a penchant for theatrics, I knew - based from his audition - that he's a very polished and well-formed performer.

14. Frenchie David
Season 2
The judges said that for the second season, they’d like to have some great voices who did not fit the pop star image, and she gave that to them with this powerhouse performance.

13. Angela Martin
Season 9
This girl just couldn't catch a break. I've got to admit the heartaches she recounted - her daughter's struggle with Rett Syndrome; the death of her father a week before her season 7 Hollywood Week run; the fact that after cracking the season 8 top 50, she had to drop out due to a traffic warrant; and her mother went missing right after Christmas of 2009 - added extra poignancy to her powerfully-sung rendition of Mary J. Blige's Just Fine. It wasn't immensely original but she showcase a good sense of vocal control and an undeniable determination to make it big.

08. Danny Noriega
Season 7
Sue me! Haha. I have to say, his rendition of the saucy Proud Mary was a tad theatrical but her voice blew me away. Sue me! Haha. I thought he has an interesting tone and a good control. Plus, he's very flambuoyant - a rarity on the show.

12. Jennifer Hudson
Season 3
Jennifer Hudson's melisma-tastic rendition of Aretha Franklin's ''Share Your Love With Me'' was phenomenal. Enough said.

11. Fantasia Barrino
Season 3
To this day, I still remember Fantasia Barrino's audition when she sang Tina Turner's Proud Mary! Truly, she just sang it with soul and the rawness of her voice stood out. Plus, an upbeat audition piece isn't entirely an easy thing to pull off because, yes, it's pretty hard on stay on key.

09. Andrew Garcia
Season 9
Seriously? His version of Sunday Morning had, arguably, a good amount of soulfulness that even exceeded Adam Levine's original. I thought his take was effortless backed up with that very smooth voice. By this time, I really thought he was the one to beat. Or maybe not.

05. Scott Savol
Season 4
Talk about a package that's a little mismatched. Haha. True, I ended up hating the guy, but Scott Savol's audition was, arguably, unforgettable. I was seriously prepared for some tuneless garbage, but once he opened his mouth and that angelic voice came out of that body.. it was one of the most rare goosebump-inducing moments for me.

11. Kelly Clarkson
Season 1
I loved her audition just because of how it went down and how she interacted well with the judges. I mean, yeah, her voice was amazing, but all the shenanagins just make it more amazing and you could tell that she was ready to be a superstar. Great!

06. Carrie Underwood
Season 4
. Carrie has since proven an adept vocalist, but her audition rendition was passable, and not really much else. It just stood there, emotionally.
When she walked in, I already found her to be quite adorable! But when she opened her mouth to sing, I was blown away!! Not because her voice was "out-of-the-world".. But because I wasn't expecting her to have that big voice..She had that soaring voice that is really her strongest suit on her country ballads on her albums, especially on Jesus Take the Wheel and Just a Dream.

12. Mario Vasquez
Season 4
After his audition, I have to admit that he had what it takes to win more than anyone else - yes, even more than Carrie Underwood. He was oozing with charisma with incredible vocal technique and a palpable sense of musicality. I swear, he probably could've beat Carrie if he hadn't quit. Just saying.

04. Leneshe Young
Season 8
Up until this very moment, I still can't believe how this girl didn't make the Top 36 of Season 8 and have, say, Arianna Afsar, Casey Carlson or Jeanine Vailes in it. Sure, I kind of flinched when she announced she was going to be ''completely original'' and sing a self-penned ditty called ''Natty', but seriously, her songwriting skills proved to be as sweet and contemporary as her vocals. Plus, she has a natureal charisma and stage presence to boot. I was impressed.

02. Melinda Doolittle
Season 6
This shy, former backup singer came into the audition room with little confidence, and then exploded, turning in a dominant performance Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life". Melinda had, easily, the best female voice in all of the auditions. If she can gain some confidence, she could make it far in the competition.

Melinda Doolittle was undoubtedly right at the top. The judges looked stunned as she belted out ''For Once in My Life,'' and were speechless for a moment when she finished. Simon called her a ''brilliant singer,'' and repeated himself in case we misunderstood the first time.

03. Katharine McPhee
Season 5
Her rendition of ''God Bless the Child'' still gives me goosebumps up until now. Seriously. Her voice was just pure and beautiful. She sang this incredibly hard song to sing flawlessly, her inflections were spot on, and the liberty she took with the melody were brilliant. Five years later, I still remember this audition vividly.

01. Paris Bennett
Season 5
I was completely in awe. Chills. Goosebumps. This to me is still, by far, my favorite audition on American Idol. I mean, her transition alone from country to jazz was strangely effortless and undeniably soul-stirring already. Plus, she got a winning personality to go along with her abundance of talent.

Friday, January 28, 2011

American Idol 10: Nashville Auditions

To be honest, this episode was nothing compared to last night - yesterday's episode was one of the rare audition episodes that I absolutely enjoyed - but I'm now convinced that the voices this season seem much stronger. I'm really enjoying this season so far.

I also thought that tonight really demonstrated the difference between the old and new judging panel. Yes, it still seems like Randy Jackson is stuck in past - laughing at contestants, accusing them of being a joke when they sing in earnest and acting like they ware a waste of his precious time - basically channeling a trying hard version of Simon Cowell.

But, I really like the new vibe Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have brought to the panel. They really pay attention, and you really feel that it’s not about THEM, it’s about the contestants. I hope Randy falls in line - actually based on his spineless nature, I’m sure he will eventually, but it’s hard to teach an old dawg new tricks, for me, for you. Haha.

Oh, and Jennifer Lopez was pretty impressive in this episode. She was tougher and she says the most with the least - if you know what I mean. Without lecturing every contestant, she was able to say it all in a couple of words. Good job!!

Anyway, here's my review on the people who got featured on today's episode:

DISCLAIMER: Just an opinion based on the auditions. It may change as the season progresses so haters back off. Haha.

Chelsee Oaks and Rob Bolin
Ex-couple? Well, that's a first. Haha. This audition was SO awkward. Good thing, they sound AMAZING together - the harmony was stellar. Separately, they were still pretty impressive. I slightly prefer the guy better than the girl because I think Rob has got a great tone to his voice - very reminiscent of Alex Lambert - but that's not saying I didn't love Chelsee's version of The Story, because I did. 8/10

Stormi Henley
Why is this rather attractive woman such a damn dull singer? Hmm.. She shouldn’t have been put through. Her voice is weak, the tone is unremarkable and got nothing in terms of interpretation. But after they let through other mediocre singers from past episodes, I'm not that surprised. Haha. I love that Jennifer Lopez is getting more and more on point though. Beauty 10/10; Talent 5/10

Adrienne Beasley
Now these are the type of back stories I like! Ha. Adrienne's voice, to me, was almost perfectly flawed but the quirks gave it some power and genuine meaning. A nice counterpoint to the wave of empty but more proficient teens. If she refined her style a little she might have something. I think she’s interesting - a potential African American country girl, which Haeley Vaughn failed to do last season. Haha. 7/10

Jackie Wilson
Hmm. Jackie did better than I expected. I love how quietly she's ending her phrases, and the early raspy notes. I didn’t like how completely loud she became at the last part of her song, but I figured that it went over better in the room itself. I also felt that the song went on forever without her getting to the chorus of Until You Come Back To Me. But, she has something interesting going on. Oh, but what a freakin’ weird ending. Her kissing an old man good enough to be her father kind of threw me away. Haha. Sorry. 7/10

Paul McDonald
This guy oddly reminds me of Ray LaMontagne. The tone of his voice really gripped me. 6/10

Jimmie Allen
Nice tone. Lovely phrasing. Great control. Quiet confidence. Breezy charm. I wanted to see/hear more though. 7/10

Danny Pate
I didn't even get to hear him sing one complete verse! Haha. N/A

Matt Dillard
Wow. They're playing Kris Allen's version of Faling Slowly! Yay! Haha. Well, overalls and alligator hat isn't particularly good, but Matt wasn't as terrible as I was expecting him to be. I love how his voice is completely different than his look – sometimes it's fun when the “package” is a little mismatched. Ha! 6/10

Lauren Alaina
Ugh! Someone is already getting the huge pimping treatment. Well, Nigel Lythgoe - Idol Executive Producer - has been pimping this Lauren girl in his twitter account saying that she's the next Kelly Clarkson and someone who could very well win American Idol. Is it just me or is this completely inappropriate for him to be pimping anyone, especially this early? Talk about favoritism. Now, to be completely fair, I thought her audition was good - her second song was better than her first, but whatever. She has got more subtlety than the average teenage kid and if she wasn’t being so talked up, I’d like her more. She has a strong tone that is, yes, reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson but less soulful. She's got a lot of improving to do when it comes to phrasing and interpretation. Oh, and I have to say that she’s not the best contestant I’ve seen this year. Seriously. I think I've said enough. Haha. 8/10


I just had to throw this here! He/she had me laughing the whole time!! "?" FTW! ?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

American Idol 10: Milwaukee Auditions

The best thing about American Idol now is how much I'm loving this season so far, thinking that after last year I was ready to drop it all..

I mean, tonight's episode proved that as this was way better than the first two from last week. Aside from the fact that I wanted to puke because of too much Danny Gokey exposure, I really thought that tonight had a great group of singers. There was a shockingly diverse set of interesting styles and, frankly, I saw several people that I'm very interested in following - so the episode was a win for me.

I still can't get enough of the judges too. I mean, Jennifer Lopez looked more comfortable on her role, Randy Jackson seemed to be progressing, and Steven Tyler cracked me up! Seriously. Simon who?

Oh, and one more thing: American Idol lowered the age limit of contestants because of how successful Justin Bieber is? Ugh! That's stupid! Just saying.

Anyway, here's my review on the people who got featured on today's episode:

DISCLAIMER: Just an opinion based on the auditions. It may change as the season progresses so haters back off. Haha.

Scott McCreery
Ok. This one's a little bit tricky. I mean, I really hate traditional country music and he sounds just like that, but I kind of like his unique voice and it seems much more mature for a 16 year old kid. Well, maybe I just don't see myself rooting for him. Oh well, I'm pretty sure we'll see more of Scott. 7/10

Emma Henry
Sue me, but I actually like her. Yes, her voice definitely needs work, but she has this unpolished raw talent in her. Plus, her tone is lovely - reminds me of Paramore's Haley Williams. Do I think she isn't ready for this yet? Yes, the same way I think Jacee Badaeux isn't ready for the cruel Idol machine. They're just way too young! 7/10

Naima Adedapo
Naima is incredible! Her voice is so damn soulful and she looks good in an off-beat kind of way. She intrigues me. Nice strong voice, and it looks like she knows who she is. I wonder what the hell is she doing cleaning the Summerfest grounds instead of being on stage? 8/10

Jerome Bell
This guy is really good. I like that there is a lot of soul in his voice and that he has an impressive vocal inflection down. He also has a lot of charisma going on for him. I just think he's too loud for my taste - maybe he needs to tone it down a little bit. 8/10

Thia Megia
Even if you take away the fact that she's actually a Filipina, I really like her. Her voice sounds very mature and she seemed to know what to do with it - used dynamics, and flourishes that actually made sense. Plus, she has tons of experience - America's Got Talent! The only issue I had with her audition was that she seemed like she was trying too hard. 8/10

Molly DeWolf Swenson
I feel in love the moment Randy punched her face! Haha. It was probably the funniest moment of the season.. YET! So, where can she go wrong after that? Ha! Truth be told, I love Molly! She has great vocal control, lovely phrasing, interesting tone and her alto is fabulous. Plus, I could see her cleaning up very nicely! She impressed me. That's it. 9/10

Haley Reinheart
She is gorgeous, but pretty girls don't seem to go very far though. Ha! Vocally, I think she's a very good singer but her audition was a little overwrought. 8/10

Tiwan Strong
I'm not so sure about this guy. He has a nice tone and he just kept things simple without doing excessive runs with his audition, but I just didn't find anything special with him. Sorry. 6/10

Steve Beghun
Interesting voice, not my cup of tea. I love his monotone speaking voice though. Haha. 6/10

Scott Dangerfield
Awesome! I think he's a good looking guy with a nice voice. He has a great tone - too much vibrato though - and I can tell that he has that stage presence on top of that gorgeous voice. Also, I didn’t know the song, but he made me like it! I’ll be keeping my eye on this guy in Hollywood. 8/10

Alyson Jados
Come on! no Danny Gokey montage on Dream On? Even during a Milwaukee audition? I feel so robbed! Haha. Well, she kind of reminds me of Gina Glocksen. Interesting tone but that's about it for me. I couldn’t even tell if she had any range at all. Next! 5/10

Chris Medina
He's not the greatest singer tonight, but I like his smooth voice - it comes out clean - and, yes, I'm just going to focus just on that. Or maybe not. Haha. I honestly refuse to like him too much. I mean, this guy will be Danny Gokey 2.0 if he makes it too far and I think he probably will. His story was definitely heartbreaking, but leave it to the producers to exploit the hell out of it for ratings. That said, I think Chris think he has more musical knowledge and experience coming onto the show than Danny did. 7/10

Glee Season 2: Thriller Episode Promo Pictures

I can't believe the hiatus is almost over!! In a few day, Glee will air again and as part of my usual post, here's a couple of Glee promo pictures from the upcoming Thriller episode, which will air after the Superbowl game on Feb 6 - Sunday!

If you're looking for spoilers, check it out, HERE.
Check out my Glee coverage, HERE.
Episode 11 Song previews, HERE.

Check out the photos after the jump!

Glee Season 2: Thriller Episode Teasers!

Glee returns on February 6, 2011 after the Superbowl game - yes, it's a Sunday! Haha. Now, Glee released two Superbowl promo and this actually looks pretty interesting!

If you're looking for spoilers, check out my Glee coverage HERE.

Videos after the jump!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Glee Season 2: Mid-Season Major Spoilers!!

Again, this post contains major spoilers so read at your own risk! Haha. This a compilation of the information I gathered from interviews, websites and also from a contributor, Ben Ross.

Check out my Glee coverage, HERE.
Episode 11 Song previews, HERE.

Spoilers after the jump!! 

Episode 11 - Thriller (February 5, 2011 - Post-Superbowl episode)

- Full 1 hour and half episode - well, roughly.
- The first 10 minutes are meant to be quite amazing.
- Katie Couric - guest appearance - is interviewing Sue for something that may offend her.
-  Will does 'a little dance' with Katie Couric.
- Some of the girls of Glee join the football team.
-  The Cheerios will be forced to forfeit Nationals due to Quinn, Santana and Brittany choosing the Glee's half time routine over an unspecified Cheerio's routine.
- According to Max Adler (Dave Karofsky) in an interview, "some really good stuff in the Superbowl episode and will do stuff fans of the show have never seen him do before."
- Not confirmed but, Sam and Finn arguing over Quinn's choice - Sam wants her to choose Cheerio's, Finn wants her to choose Glee.
- Quinn choosing Glee (Finn) over Cheerios (Sam)
- The ending is said to be quite shocking according to Lea Michele.
-  I heard rumors that the end of the episode has the kiss.
- Charice will not be appearing in the Super Bowl episode and her song 'Meet Me Halfway' has been moved along with her to the last 5 episodes of Glee (according to Ryan Murphy this is to allow for some mega ballads).

Songs to be performed:
- Need You Now by Lady Antebellum (Puck and Rachel)
- Thriller/Heads Will Roll by Michael Jackson and Yeah Yeah Yeah (New Directions with Football Team)
- Bills Bills Bills by Destiny's Child (The Dalton Academy Warblers)
- She's Not There by The Zombies (Finn)

Episode 12 - Silly Love Songs (February 8, 2011)

- This is Glee's Valentine's Day episode.
- A new Warbler named Flint Wilson will be introduced and will fight with Kurt.
- A few relationship tiffs will occur in this episode with some crowd favorite couples. Who will stay, who will last?
- A sleepover will occur with three of the characters. Two of them you would assume to sleepover but the other person not so much.
- Blaine will confess something to someone and it will involve both love and drama.
- Chris Colfer has confirmed that although Kurt loves Blaine, Blaine does not feel the same way for Kurt.
- Some new relationships may begin, between two unlikely characters - possibly Puck and Lauren?
- According to Lea Michele the ending of the episode was very sweet that she began to cry.

Songs to be performed:
- P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) by Michael Jackson (Artie and Mike)
- When I Get You Alone by Robin Thicke (Blaine, Mercedes, Kurt and the Warblers)
- Silly Love Songs by Paul McCartney (Blaine and the Warblers)
- Firework by Katy Perry (Rachel)
- Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen (Puck)
- My Funny Valentine (Tina)
- Misery by Maroon 5 is also rumoured to be performed by Blaine (?).

Episode 13 - Comeback (February 15, 2011)

-Sue will join New Directions.
- A character tries to mend his relationship through song.
- A diva off will take place between Mercedes and Rachel courtesy of Sue.
- Sue and Rachel will be dancing together.
- Sam will form a boy band and sing 3 Justin Bieber songs.
- According to Brad Falchuk, atleast one of Sam's performances will be sung to Quinn and the same song will impress the other guys to the point that they want to get involved.
- During the above performance, Sam will copy Justin Bieber's hairstyle.
-Finn and Rachel won't get back together in this episode.

Songs to be performed:
- Take Me or Leave Me from Rent (Rachel and Mercedes)
- Baby by Justin Bieber. (Sam and his boy band)
- Somebody To Love by Justin Bieber (Sam and boy band)
- Other songs are said to be another Justin Bieber song and a song by My Chemical Romance which is said to heavily involve Sue singing.

- Charice will appear on the last 5 episodes of Season 2. 
- Anne Hathaway will be making an appearance on Glee and will be playing, allegedly, Kurt's lesbian aunt.
- Coach Bieste will be singing a song.
- According to Ryan Murphy, Gwenyth Paltrow will be making a return for two episodes as Holly Holiday. She will be a Sex Education teacher and will play a love interest to Will. She will be singing 8 songs over her two episode appearance but this may change.
- Gwenyth Paltrow character Holly Holiday will play matchmaker to a crowd favourite couple.
- Lady Gaga's unreleased song Born This Way will be used as a theme throughout an entire episode focusing on Karofsky - and his feelings. The song will be sung in the episode and is said to involve the entire cast. It is still unknown whether or not Karofsky will be singing. This song may be used in an episode titled 'Blame It On The Alcohol'. 
- Jonathan Groff would be filming for Glee in January once his show in London finished - possibly after January 15.
- According to, Sam and Quinn will not be morphing into Squinn anytime soon. Ryan Murphy got bored with the team up because they were too perfect. WTF!
- What's crazier is that Sam starts dating Santana after that and Quinn will seek solace in her ex, Finn. 

That's it.. for now! Also, the information here may change last minute because yes, it is Ryan Murphy's show! Haha. But for now, enjoy the spoilers.

One last thing though: Dear Ryan Murphy, I just hope Glee doesn't go the Gossip Girl route where everyone passes partner from one person to another, with threesome included. Just saying. Thank you.

2011 Academy Award Nominations

Ok. This is a couple of hours late, but whatever. The Academy has announced the nominees for the upcoming Oscar ceremony, which will be televised on February 27, 2010.

Well, I'm mostly happy with all of them - especially with Michelle Williams getting some love - but there were certainly a couple of good and bad surprises here and there.

Javier Bardem's nod for Best Actor came out of nowhere. Sure, he had a slight Oscar buzz but so was Robert Duvall. Jennifer Lawrence was a pleasant surprise and so was Winter's Bone for Best Picture.

Christopher Nolan, I think, deserves to be nominated as Best Director for his work on Inception though. This is actually the third time Nolan has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America but passed over by the Oscars for Best Director. The Academy snubbed him for Memento, The Dark Knight and now with Inception. What's interesting with Inception though is that he had been nominated for the Directors Guild of America, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Golden Globe and the BAFTA. How significant is that?

Other snubs were Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) and Mila Kunis (Black Swan). I also expected The Town to get a Best Picture nod but it didn't and also Tangled for Best Animated Film.

Oh, and isn't it funny how Toy Story 3 is the only one out of the 3 animated films nominated for Best Picture. They might as well post “spoiler alert” because I can’t imagine it not winning the Best Animated Film now. Ha!

Nominees after the jump!!

Best Picture
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Actress
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David O. Russell, The Fighter

Best Original Screenplay
Another Year
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
The Kids Are All Right

Best Adapted Screenplay
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Best Foreign Film
Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) (Algeria)
Incendies (Canada)
In a Better World (Denmark)

Best Animated Film
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The King's Speech
True Grit

Black Swan, Matthew Libatique
Inception, Wally Pfister
The King's Speech, Danny Cohen
The Social Network, Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit, Roger Deakins

 Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland
I Am Love
The King's Speech
The Tempest
True Grit 

Film Editing
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King's Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network

Original Score
How to Train Your Dragon, John Powell
Inception, Hans Zimmer
The King's Speech, Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours, A.R. Rahman
The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Original Song
Coming Home, Country Song
I See the Light, Tangled
If I Rise, 127 Hours
We Belong Together, Toy Story 3

Sound Editing
Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit

Sound Mixing
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Iron Man 2

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Movie Review: Love & Other Drugs

No one warned me going into this film that this was going to be sexually graphic and a bit raunchy. Haha. But while a couple scenes between Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal were highly erotic, I thought that the sex scenes were done tastefully and the movie in general was actually a noticeable cut above the average romantic comedy films.

No, it wasn't excellent by any means but it was entertaining and quite insightful. I thought the film surprisingly had a little bit of everything - full of explicit sex and nudity, a number of pretty crude sex jokes, a decent love story and some hard hitting heavy drama - and while this was it's greatest strength, it also seemed to be the movie's biggest flaw.

That's right! Love & Other Drugs was just all over the place. It seriously had that tantalizing potential given the premise, but the film suddenly went to the frustratingly formulaic territory. It had the satiric edge that marked a strong beginning because of the pharmaceutical angle but the narrative that followed after that became confusing. Was the movie trying to be funny? Or touching? Or relevant? Or just plain sexy? There were moments were I felt a tear coming on.. and then boom! comic relief.

That would've worked if the actor playing the obligatory 'funny guy' was actually funny. But no, he's just outright annoying! This Jonah Hill-esque character served absolutely no purpose to the plot whatsoever. He existed purely for comedic potential - a potential that was not once realized. EVER.

Good thing, the performances - and chemistry - of Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal were incredibly good that it made me want to just be stubborn and disregard some quibbles I had with the film. I have to say, I had fun watching them develop together as a character and I completely bought them as a real couple. There was something authentic about their performances - their little joys and affections with each other was endearing to watch. Oh, and I had no real idea about Hathaway's considerable physical assets, until this one. Haha. It was shocking.

Now, as far as romantic comedies go, this film was - as I've said - a cut above average. Half the battle was to establish likable characters and a compelling scenario, both of which the film managed admirably. If only there were able to turn dramatic scenes into poignant ones and the drug and sex jokes into some insightful commentary, this would've been a terrific romantic comedy with edge. Sad.

RATING: 7/10

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie Review: Tangled

After all the hype surrounding this film late last year, I was a bit worried that it might not meet my expectations. Admittedly though, I didn't know what to expect. I mean, it's Disney - which was somewhat comforting - but  it's also their first animated movie - outside Pixar - that got a Parental Guidance rating, so Tangled actually seemed different. Well, good thing, the film didn't disappoint one bit and I was actually pretty impressed.

Let me start with the obvious: visually, the film was outstanding! The animation style was vibrant, the backdrops were exquisitely rendered and the characters had excellent detail with an impeccable fluidity in their movements.

The music, I thought, was also quite exceptional. It had enough musical numbers to keep Disney fans more than satisfied and not enough where it's already an overkill. Frankly, I didn't realize that this was a musical until the first song and it was a pleasant surprise. Ha! The songs were meaningful and heartfelt that all served a purpose.

Now, as for the voice casting, I thought they all did wonderful. True, I was a little iffy about Mandy Moore as the lead voice but she was perfect for the role. I thought she gave life and the right amount of innocence and edge to the character. Zachary Levi's voice acting was also pretty charming. I have to mention though two characters who added humor to the film - Pascal (chameleon) and Maximus (horse). Sure, they had no speaking lines, I knew exactly what they wanted to say and their clever expressions came in loud and clear.

In terms of story, it was pretty straightforward but equally compelling - maybe because of the wild spin they put into this old fairytale. The humor was spot on and the pacing was superb. Oh, and there were a couple of scenes that almost made me cry and some that actually gave me goosebumps - that's rare, mind you! - especially the lantern scene.

Ultimately, I highly recommend this film. With an outstanding animation and an abundance of heart, Tangled is absolutely what I would wish for in a fairy tale: remarkable, glorious and, of course, magical. It's a movie that's very hard NOT to like.

 RATING: 9/10

Sunday, January 23, 2011

American Idol: Favorite American Idol Poll Results

For a couple of weeks, I ran polls asking readers of this blog to vote for their American Idol favorites - winners to fifth placers -  and I'm quite fascinated with the response from everyone. Yes, there were some fan wars here and there but I guess that's pretty inevitable.

Now, from a commercial standpoint, the matter is settled in some of the poll. Ask Chris Daughtry. I mean, nobody has sold more music coming out of a fourth-place finish on American Idol than him. So, I thought the battle is more for the second spot. Or maybe not.

Well, even if some polls turned out to be simply a referendum on who's got the most organized online fan base, one got to admit that this ought to render meaningless amusement. Admit it, polls - no matter how silly - are fun!!

Here are the results:

Brooke White (Season 7) - 27.73%
Matt Giraud (Season 8) - 23.68%
Aaron Kelly (Season 9) - 21.28%
Paris Bennett (Season 5) - 13.08%
Chris Richardson (Season 6) - 8.72%
Trenyce (Season 2) - 2.49%
George Huff (Season 3) - 1.56%
Scott Savol (Season 4) - 0.93%
RJ Helton (Season 1) - 0.62%

TOTAL: 321 votes

Jason Castro (Season 7) - 41.56%
Allison Iraheta (Season 8) - 29.34%
Chris Daughtry (Season 5) - 17.11%
Tamyra Gray (Season 1) - 3.42%
Anthony Fedorov (Season 4) - 2.69%
LaToya London (Season 3) - 2.44%
Michael Lynche (Season 9) - 1.96%
Josh Gracin (Season 2) - 0.98%
LaKisha Jones (Season 6) - 0.49%

TOTAL: 409 votes

Elliott Yamin (Season 5) - 44.15%
Casey James (Season 9) - 40.69%
Danny Gokey (Season 8) - 6.13%
Syesha Mercado (Season 7) - 3.12%
Melinda Doolittle (Season 6) - 2.23%
Vonzell Solomon (Season 4) - 1.56%
Jasmine Trias (Season 3) - 1.45%
Kimberley Locke (Season 2) - 0.45%
Nikki McKibbin (Season 1) - 0.22%

TOTAL: 897 votes

David Archuleta (Season 7) - 45.09%
Clay Aiken (Season 2) - 30.13%
Katharine McPhee (Season 5) - 12.17%
Adam Lambert (Season 8) - 8.43%
Bo Bice (Season 4) - 2.45%
Justin Guarini (Season 1) - 0.73%
Crystal Bowersox (Season 9) - 0.70%
Blake Lewis (Season 6) - 0.16%
Diana DeGarmo (Season 3) - 0.13%

TOTAL: 3,830 votes

Carrie Underwood (Season 4) - 30.48%
Kelly Clarkson (Season 1) - 25.93%
Kris Allen (Season 8) - 20.45%
David Cook (Season 7) - 11.01%
Lee DeWyze (Season 9) - 8.46%
Jordin Sparks (Season 6) - 1.71%
Fantasia Barrino (Season 3) - 0.98%
Taylor Hicks (Season 5) - 0.78%
Ruben Studdard (Season 2) - 0.24%

TOTAL: 2,044 votes
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