Monday, February 23, 2015

The 3rd Bernel Zone Awards for Big Screen & Small Screen

For your reference of my picks for the best TV shows and movies of 2014:

In accordance to this blog’s tradition (which started in 2013), whenever it’s Oscar season, I do my own informal awarding for random, ever-changing categories.  For this year, I decided to just merge the Bernels for cinema and TV (that’s why I didn’t write a Bernels for TV last January), and I think, this combined approach is going to be the set format from now on.   

Best Movie Hero: John Wick (John Wick)

 
I think John Wick is now my favorite Keanu Reeve’s character (yep, even over Neo).  The character’s not only a very skilled badass, but is also chock-full of personality.  I mightily like how the character was built up, forced into the conflict, and then his real reputation eventually revealed.

Runners-up: Batman (Lego Movie), Captain America (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Chris “The Legend” Kyle (American Sniper), Joseph Cooper (Interstellar)

Best TV Hero: Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)

 
Duh.  This guy will probably always win this award whenever it’s a year that has a season of Sherlock on.

Runners-up: The 12th Doctor (Doctor Who), Raymond “Red” Reddington (The Blacklist)

Best Movie Heroine: Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars)

It’s not only because she’s my second favorite female fictional character ever that I gave her this award.  I objectively don’t have any 2014 movie heroine in mind that was able to be more interesting than Veronica Mars.   

Runner-up: Black Widow (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Best TV Heroine: Felicity Smoak (Arrow)

 
Arrows’ Felicity Smoak is based on a forgotten hacker character in the DC comics.  But I bet that the comics’ Felicity Smoak isn’t as awesome as the one Emily Bett Rickards is portraying in Arrow.  She’s easily the most attractive, the most fun, the most magnetic, and the most interesting female character in Arrow.  Her geeky charm, quick wit, winning personality, strong characterization, and mean hacker skills make her the female character I enjoy watching most in TV right now     

Runners-up:  Cosima Niehaus, Sarah Manning, Alison Hendrix, and Helena (Orphan Black)

Best Movie Villain: The Winter Soldier (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

 
I was initially wary to give this award to Bucky Barnes a.k.a. the Winter Soldier considering the fact that the character is expected to eventually return being a hero.  Nonetheless, Sebastian Stan’s performance as a brainswashed Hydra assassin was deliciously menacing and engaging. 

Runners-up: Koba (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Conrad Stonebanks a.k.a. Victor Menz (The Expendables 3), Terence Fletcher (Whiplash)

Best TV Villain: Harrison Wells (The Flash)

 
I adore Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen, but the most fascinating character of The Flash is Dr. Harrison Wells.  It’s kinda unique that the big bad is actually among the good guys.  And the character is wrapped with too much mystery, too much intrigued, as well as natural screen charisma, that Dr. Wells is the most engaging villain I’ve seen in 2014 TV.

Runners-up: Min Joon-gook (I Hear Your Voice), Deathstroke (Arrow), Captain Cold (The Flash)

Best Movie Villainess: Amy Dunne (Gone Girl)

 
I thought Eva Green’s Artemisia in 300: Rise of an Empire already had this award in the bag, that it was unlikely to top the ruthless Persian general.  Then I saw Gone Girl and Rosamund Pike’s psychopathic Amy Dunne made me forget Artemisia’s badassery.  Mrs. Dunne is a distinctive, captivatingly unsettling villainess.  Her cold-hearted, manipulative, and cunning personality is disturbingly chilling.
      
Runners-up: Artemisia (300: Rise of an Empire), Mason (Snowpiercer), Hammer Girl (The Raid 2: Berandal)

Best TV Villainess: Missy (Doctor Who)

 
I’m new to Doctor Who but I’m knowledgeable enough of the mythology to appreciate the twist that The Master had turned into The Mistress. 

Runners-up: Margot Al-Harazi (24: Live Another Day)

Best Movie Couple: Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Even critics of the movie would agree with me that one of the good things about it is the adorably corny, “lovey-dovey” chemistry of Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy.     

Runners-up: Dylan Kershaw and Rebecca Porter (In Your Eyes), Logan Echols and Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars)

Best TV Couple: Park Soo-ha and Jang Hye-sung (I Hear Your Voice)

Because their story has kept me absorbed and made me swoon!

Runner-up: Richard Castle and Kate Becket (Castle)

Best Movie Duo: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III and Hiccup

 
Probably the greatest “rider and his mount” tandem in fiction. 

Best TV Duo: Sherlock Holmes & John Watson (Sherlock)

Again, duh.  Few duos can ever match the compelling work that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have done with their respective characters in Sherlock.     

Runner-up: Rusty Cohle and Marty Hart (True Detective)

Most Adorable Movie Character: Baymax (Big Hero 6)

I really get the vibes that Baymax – like everything else about Big Hero 6 – has been consciously, painstakingly designed to win everyone’s hearts.  And though it would feel “synthetic” if indeed so, I’m nonetheless fine with what resulted from the intent.  Baymax is awesomely adorable, and if there’s a real-life Baymax, I definitely want one.  “Bah-la-la-la-la.” 

Most Adorable TV Character: Bernadette Rostenkowski-Walowitz (The Big Bang Theory)

Last 2014, I got to marathon The Big Bang Theory, and I discovered that this show is extremely hilarious.  The last time I had fan-level enjoyment from sitcoms was during the days I was watching sitcom reruns of shows like Blackadder Goes Forth, Mork & Mindy, and Happy Days; I also occasionally watched 3rd Rock from the Sun back in the 2000’s.  But I was never really into modern sitcoms.  So The Big Bang Theory is my first real fandom on a sitcom since Happy Days.      

The show has always been funny, but the early seasons were kinda plagued with negative social behaviors of the male characters.  However, once female characters Amy Farah Fowler and Bernadette Rostenkowski had been introduced into the show, the appalling stereotyping of geek social cluelessness and awkwardness have been smoothed off.  The girls – especially Bernadette – were great additions to the show, and definitely improved it a lot.    

Bernadette could be my most favorite Big Bang Theory character (next to Bernadette, I just equally like the other characters).  Not only is she the most attractive cast member, but her charming personality, small stature, and squeaky voice (especially this) makes her overwhelmingly adorable.

Best Dance in Movie: Baby Groot dance (Guardians of the Galaxy)

No contest. 

Best Dance in TV: Clone Party (Orphan Black)

The awesomeness of Orphan Black is summarized in this epic sequence. 

Best TV Smile: Sherlock Holmes (Sherlock)

The smile of a “high-functioning sociopath.”

Best Movie Smile: Maleficent (Maleficent)

The best three seconds of the movie.

Best Movie Fight Scene: Rama vs. Hammer Girl, Baseball Bat Boy, and the Assassin (The Raid 2: Berandal)

Every fight sequence in The Raid 2: Berandal is incredibly badass.  But the most notable for me is Rama’s gauntlet against a couple of goons, then Hammer Girl and Baseball Bat Boy, and then, finally, a “boss level” duel with The Assassin.
 
Runners-up: The highway fight between Captain America and the Winter Soldier, the elevator fight scene between Cap and those Hydra-S.H.I.E.L.D  troopers, and Cap vs. Batroc the Leaper (Captain America: The Winter Soldier); Shishio vs. Kenshin, Saito, Sanosukue, and Aoshi (Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends); John Wick vs. Russian mobsters (John Wick)

Best TV Fight Scene: Flash vs. Arrow (The Flash)

This terrific fight scene happened in the first episode of The Flash and Arrow crossover.  Considering the limitations and budget of TV programming, I applaud everyone involved in that fight scene for overachieving.  I think I have re-watched the scene at least a dozen times over.   

Runner-up: Agent May vs. Agent May copycat (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Best Movie Ensemble of Characters: Guardians of the Galaxy

Seeing Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and Groot stand together in the big screen is almost as exciting as seeing the Avengers assemble back in 2012.

Runners-up: The Lego Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Best TV Ensemble of Characters: Castle

With Psych done, Castle is now the current ongoing TV series that I’ve followed the longest.  Hence, I’ve already grown invested and fond of all of the show’s characters.  So, in terms of volume of TV characters I like, Castle has the ensemble I enjoy watching the most.
  
Expression of the Year:

   
Twist of the Year: X-Men: The Last Stand is erased from continuity (X-Men: Days of Future Past)

It was not necessarily a mindblowing twist, but the knowledge that the deaths of Jean Grey and Cyclops are negated and that everyone is blissfully together in Xaviers’ School for Gifted Youngsters, really provided a warm-hearted, delightful feeling.
 
Runner-up: The story is being “imagined” by a boy while playing with his father’s Lego collection (The Lego Movie); Skye is the MCU’s Daisy Johnson a.k.a. Quake, and Ward is Hydra (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.); Mary is a spook (Sherlock)

Most Memorable Quote of the Year: Rust Cohle (True Detective)

“This is a world where nothing is solved. Someone once told me, 'Time is a flat circle.' Everything we've ever done or will do, we're gonna do over and over and over again.” 

Speech of the Year: Sherlock’s speech during John and Mary’s wedding (Sherlock)

Sherlock Holmes’ best man speech was hilarious, touching, memorable, and just plain awesome.  An important excerpt:
“If I burden myself with a little helpmate during my adventures, this is not out of sentiment or caprice. It is that he has many fine qualities of his own he has overlooked in his obsession with me. Indeed, any reputation I have for mental acuity and sharpness comes, in truth, from the extraordinary contrast John so selflessly provides. It is a fact, I believe, that brides tend to favor exceptionally plain bridesmaids for their big day...
“There is a certain analogy there, I feel - and contrast is, after all, God's own plan to enhance the beauty of his creation. Or it would be if God were not a ludicrous fantasy, designed to provide a career opportunity for the family idiot.
[awkward pause]
“Point I'm trying to make is that I am the most unpleasant, rude, ignorant, and all-round obnoxious arsehole that anyone could possibly have the misfortune to meet. I am dismissive of the virtuous, unaware of the beautiful, and uncomprehending in the face of the happy, so if I didn't understand I was being asked to be best man, it is because I never expected to be anybody's best friend, and certainly not the best friend of the bravest and kindest and wisest human being I have ever had the good fortune of knowing.” 
Make-Up Job of the Year: Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer and Grand Budapest Hotel

It was a considerable time after I’ve seen Snowpiercer and Grand Budapest Hotel that I only learned that Tilda Swinton was in them!  I was blown away; I never recognized her at all.  Uncanny.   

Actor That I Got to Like for the First Time in 2014: James Spader

I had encountered James Spader before in films like Stargate and Secretary, but he never struck me as a versatile and captivating actor then.  Only when I started watching The Blacklist did I get to see how great John Spader is.  His performance as Raymond Reddington in The Blacklist is extremely enthralling – his voice is magnetic; his control and delivery of emotion is convincing and defined; he lights up every scene he’s in; and, just like his character, he seems to be always in control. 

Actress That I Got to Like for the First Time in 2014: Tatiana Maslany

Portraying distinctively the different clones in Orphan Black makes her the epitome the versatility.  Can’t help but be mesmerized by her prowess.

Best Movie Posters of 2014: Captain America: The Winter Soldier


The most awesomely badass and gorgeously designed posters ever...

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