Mystery Box

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via Theory11

Every one loves a good mystery but when it was revealed to me (yesterday) that JJ Abrams would be partnering with Theory 11 on a mystery box, I was immediately hooked!

However, through various social networking accounts and bit of general interweb digging, I came to suspect that inside this mystery box would hold a freshly letter-pressed set of playing cards. My theory, the same as others’, proved correct.

While I’d rather spend my hard earned cash on First Aid Kit concert tickets (can’t wait for June!) I’ll definitely be pinning these Bad Robot inspired playing cards onto my “For the Hypothetical Home” Pinterest board. After all, every woman needs an epic set of cards!

via Theory11
via Theory11

And if you’ve managed to miss Abrams’ Ted Talk on his Mystery Box, you should definitely check it out below.

Oscars 2014 Hopes

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This time, last year, I was packing my bags to head to the Oscars Red Carpet Event – an event I won tickets to on Good Morning America.

This year, I won’t be in LA nor will I be hosting my usual Oscar party. Instead, I’ve bought a $10 ticket to Side Bar in Union Square and will be watching the award show unfold amongst the likes of likeminded Oscar fans.

Given my recent OD of films, my “predictions” below don’t really reflect who I think will win, but rather, who I want to win. So without further ado, these are the winners I hope to see gracing the hallowed Kodak Theater* stage this Sunday.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett

Never before have I seen her in such form as I did in Blue Jasmine. While Meryl Streep truly ruled the screen in August: Osage County, Cate Blanchett stepped outside her usual composed shell and let loose.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey

Just like Blanchett, I’ve never seen McConaughey outside his usual, slick element. In DBC, his performance was the most real and raw I’ve ever seen him perform. However, I will say DiCaprio’s performance in WOW was something to applaud, but having to choose between the two, I’ll tip my hat to Matt.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o

She simply stole the Show in TYAS. Don’t get me wrong, Jennifer Lawrence was electric in AH, but Lupita blew her out of the waters with this role.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto.

Do I really need to defend this? Michael Fassbender came in as a very far second in my book.

Best Original Screenplay: Nebraska

Best Adapted Screenplay: Philomena

Best Director: (tie) Gravity or 12 Years a Slave

Both Cuarón and McQueen delivered powerful performances and visuals in their epic tales of survival. Now it’s just waiting a game to see who will take home the Oscar.

Best Cinematography: (tie) Gravity or Prisoners

If the sound gave out on either of these films, I still wouldn’t be able to look away. Both were beautiful to watch.

Sound (all categories): Gravity

Imagine yourself sitting in the comfy, red and velvet seats at your local film house, and close your eyes…now which film would you like to listen to and still get the full story? For me, that’s Gravity.

Best Editing: Gravity

Apparently, I want Gravity to sweep the Oscars this year, but given the other noms in this category, I imagine Cuarón and Sanger had their hands full on this one.

Best Live Action Short: Avant Que De Tout Perdre (France)

Thankfully, I was able to see all the films in this category thanks to the IFC. And the French submission this year was without a doubt the most gripping and emotional of them all.

Best Picture: (tie) Gravity or 12 Years a Slave

Both films, holistically, is how I would define “movie magic.” Both directors and their amazing teams pulled us into worlds and emotionally connected the audience to their leading gent and lady so subtly, that by the end, the audience wasn’t aware of their emotional involvement until the tears cascaded down their cheeks or they let out the breath they didn’t know they were even holding. If any other film wins in this category, I’ll have to throw down a cocktail ;D

*The famed Kodak Theater was renamed to The Dolby Theater after Kodak filed for bankruptcy. However I find, “The Dolby Theater” less romantic sounding than Kodak, so for me, Kodak it will forever be.

Also, the featured image at the beginning of this post is one of the new inspired logos from The Academy.

Je suis fatigué du cinéma

For the first time ever (scary!) I think I’ve over done it on the movies leading up to the Oscars. The very thought of paying $15 or more for a ticket and stepping into a dark cinema stresses me out. My once relaxing haven has turned into a place I dread. This is not good.

In just a few days, the Oscars will air and we’ll find out who in all their cinematic glory will be named the kings and queens of Hollywood. But for me, the magic has fizzled. One reason I suspect is that I, “know too much.” Gone is the thin veil that used to shield me from the politics of cinema. While I’m happy for the exposure, the experiences have left me a bit disillusioned to possibly my favorite past time.

The solution? For one, I plan to stop seeing films based solely on the premise that the critics say that its noteworthy. I’m quite displeased that I spent money on Her and I remember when The Hurt Locker was blowing up and then won the Oscar for Best Picture, after finally seeing it, I was still mad at myself for time wasted. I should just trust my gut and say no to films I somehow intrinsically know I’m not going to enjoy. Captain Phillips and Inside Llewyn Davis I’m proud to say I haven’t seen despite the reviews swirling around the Oscar buzzing atmosphere.

On that note, the next film I definitely plan on seeing is Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel. Also on the curiosity radar are The Lunchbox, a small independent, Indian film, Like Father Like Son, a Japanese film exploring the ever evolving theory of nature vs. nurture and Elizabeth Bank’s new comedy Walk of Shame. And let’s not forget the much anticipated new X-Men film debuting in May: Days of Future Past! Trails below ::

“Truth is far too precious a commodity to be used lightly.”

I’ve been on a bit of a JK Rowling kick this year in regards to my literary life and having finally finished Chamber of Secrets and The Cuckoo’s Calling within days of each other, I think it’s time to take a mini JK break.

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I think as I’ve gotten older, as many can attest, our sense of vulnerabilities and loss has grown while our reckless sense of identity has waned. With Chamber of Secrets, I’m finding Harry’s lack of instinct for self preservation quite shocking. While I understand his traits as a loyal friend and wanting to risk his life for the sake of good, I keep reminding myself that this boy is only 12 years old! But I think now, at 25, reading this series, I’m reading it more as a distant adult looking in on a 12 year old’s life rather than experiencing it as I did originally, as 12 year old, knowing I’d do just the same as Harry for my friends.

As for The Cuckoo’s Calling, I would have never picked this book up not knowing who the true author was. However, the read was quite exhilarating and I can’t wait for the second installment come June of this year! I never pictured myself as a crime/mystery novel reader, but here I am! Thank you JK Rowling!

Currently on the reading docket is The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant. I’m always a fan of espionage and covert operations and I’ve found just the book to satisfy that curiosity. I had no idea such a beloved children’s book author (Matilda, James and the Giant Peach) had such a storied background!

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Perhaps when I’m done with this nonfiction spy novel, I’ll pick up Prisoners of Azkaban. Until then, let me leave you with a quote from the opening pages of Conant’s book. “Truth is far too precious a commodity to be used lightly.” – Louis Franck.