Friday, January 31, 2014

1974 Fisti Awards...have begun!

Will 'The Godfather Part II' repeat with the Fistis?

I'm just too busy apparently.  I planned on having my full batch of awards up by today, but copped out after posting the top three (Best Picture, Director, Film Editing).  I have too much to do today, and so you'll have to wait until next week before the balance is posted.  Supporting Actor has been up there for over a year thanks to this 'Closer Look' post from 2012.  I still wholly back that lineup, so no qualms or changes to come.

Anyways, you can hop on over to the 70's Fisti Awards page and check out my lineups for Picture, Director and Editing.

This is a superb year in general, and one that I often look back on with complete admiration.  There was just so much talent, but what strikes me all the more about this year was the way that so many genres were represented and almost redefined.  You had film noir, horror, comedy, musicals, quirky indies and then, of course, you had 'The Godfather Part II', which proved that sequels could be just as good, if not better, than the originals.  My Picture and Director ballots were TIGHT races, with my top eight contenders in each category being almost interchangeable.  Director was the most difficult for me, because some of these directors put in their best work this year, and so many of the year's best films relied so heavily on the style and identity of their directors.

I already want to shift things around.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy and I'll make another update later next week once the balance of the awards get posted.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let's Review Something: Don Jon


I swear to god I didn’t plan this, but it is oddly appropriate that the 69th film I see from the film year that is 2013 happens to be ‘Don Jon’.  I honestly couldn’t have planned this out if I tried, but I do keep track and yes it is true. 

I’ve been excited to see this movie since I saw the first trailer.  I take that back.  It goes even further back than that.  Remember back when there were those rumors that Scarlett Johansson and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were the cutest couple in Hollywood only to have those rumors merely be the start of this collaboration, which happened to be Joseph’s directorial debut?  Yeah, I’ve been excited to see the two of them together on the big screen since then.  Sadly, my life doesn’t always accommodate my every cinematic desire, and convincing my wife to see a movie starring Scarlett Johansson (who she hates for her good looks and my shameless obsession with) about porn addiction was not going to be an easy sell, so it had to wait.

Honestly, watching this this afternoon while my wife was out felt a lot like sneaking porn, not because ‘Don Jon’ is overly pornographic in nature but because I knew she’d be upset if she found out about it.

I other words, it would have went down similar to when Barbara checked Jon’s browsing history.

Let's Review Something: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2


While it was never very popular, critically, I remember really liking ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’.  It wasn’t the smartest or the most original (conceptually or in delivery) but it was cute; really cute.  The dialog and gimmick was well balanced and created a fast paced animated adventure that was a breeze to watch, easy and comfortable.  My kids lapped it up like it was candy (pun intended) and my wife and I sat back and enjoyed some mindless entertainment that wasn’t mind-numbing.

The previews for ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2’ made this look like the bigger, better version of the same formula, and I was hooked almost instantly.

I had to see this.

Despite my clear desire to see this in the theater with my kids, I wound up seeing ‘Gravity’ instead.  I made the right call.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A nom, yet not a nom: yet another reason Original Song is the greatest (and worst) category in Oscar history...


The Oscar nominations always come and go with a few head scratchers no one saw coming, but I can't remember (at least in my years of Oscar watching) a WTF moment as big as hearing 'Alone Yet Not Alone' named as one of the Original Song nominees.  In fact, half the blogging community called bullshit immediately when they discovered who it was that penned the song and when the film itself was set to release.  It wasn't even that the song beat out early favorite 'Young and Beautiful', but more so that the song itself was such a steaming pile of shit, associated with a film that looked about as 'made for television' as they come, and the obvious political bias connected to the nomination itself stunk of corruption.

So, now that everyone has settled into the ironic hilarity of what this nomination represents (the Oscars are a joke...a joke that we can't help but LOVE TO DEATH and take far too seriously), Oscar makes a rare move and UN-nominates the song!  This is almost too good to be true!

So, let's just take a few minutes to morn the loss of what was sure to be the greatest moment in Oscar history (and by that I mean the Legend that is Joni Eareckson Tada perform this at the ceremony)!

Former 'Dream Team' reunite to save a career...


I want to take you back to 1999.  There was this new voice in film, a certain M. Night Shyamalan, who paired up with an action star named Bruce Willis and this young actor no one was taking seriously and went all the way to the Oscars, winning nothing but earning respect.  Then, he came back a year later with the same actor (Willis) and redefined the Superhero movie, delivering a chilling and engaging look at the birth of a hero in 'Unbreakable'.

Then he became a hack.

Yes, we don't talk about M. Night Shyamalan much here because he's become a serious joke.  I can't think of a single director who started with so much promise and potential and squandered it so quickly so as to become a literal laughing stock.  His name isn't even a selling point anymore, and as was seen with the advertisements for his latest bomb, 'After Earth', his name is purposefully hidden from the audience so as not to deter them from actually seeing the movie.  I think that Shyamalan knows that his time is up, to the point where he's calling on an old friend to save whatever is left of his career.

So that brings us to 'Labor of Love', a film that is currently in the works, directed by Shyamalan and staring Bruce Willis.  The premise sounds unlike anything Shyamalan has tacked his name to, and the fact that he wrote it pre-Sixth Sense has me hoping that this is actually good.  Willis will play a widower who feels ashamed he never expressed his love fully for his wife and so he sets off to 'walk across the country' for her, taking the trek from Philly to California.  

I've expressed my love for Willis here before, and I am all for him getting an Oscar vehicle, and this sounds VERY baity.  The only issue for me is Shyamalan's track record as of late.  Like I said, he's a joke.  But, this sounds promising, and he is a talented director (my issues have always lied in his terrible screenplays, post-Unbreakable) so I wonder if this could be a return to form for the man.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let's Review Something: Prisoners


For a film that is over two and a half hours long, there are so many plot holes in ‘Prisoners’ I’m almost tempted to wish that it was three hours in length, and then again, maybe I just wish that it had never been made.  Watching the film in the first place took inner strength, since the subject matter is one that I have a very strong reaction to, but I expected to at least be rewarded with a thought provoking film that tested my inner calm but delivered a strong impact. 

Instead, I was left with confusion, frustration and indifference.

Honestly, it was like screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski and director Denis Villeneuve thought that if you throw enough unnecessary details into a pot and stir them, the audience won’t notice the plot holes because they’ll be as distracted as Detective Loki by a bunch of stuff that makes no sense and means absolutely nothing.

Let's Review Something: The Spectacular Now


Teen angst films are not all that uncommon.  In fact, there are so many of them you start to lose count of just how many are gracing the screen at any given moment, or how many you’ve never heard of are going ‘direct to video’ or appearing on Lifetime.  Adolescence is a rough time in almost everyone’s life, but it is also the most crucial because it shapes you, starts to define you, and in many instances can ruin you.  It is rare that a film can capture all of these things without beating you over the head with self-indulgent ‘importance’ and so it can become a chore to wade through the murky waters of teen angst films to discover the few (and far in-between) that actually manage to say something without saying EVERYTHING.

When I saw the trailer for ‘The Spectacular Now’ and then read some comments from people anticipating the film, I got slightly nervous.  There is some weighty material here, and combining alcoholism and teen abandonment, terrible fathers and overworked mothers and ‘new love’ and ‘damaged love’ and all that goes with it into one film and then trying to look like a quirky indie romantic comedy just felt like something that was going to fail, miserably.

Thankfully, ‘The Spectacular Now’ doesn’t.

Let's Review Something: 20 Feet From Stardom


Have you ever put on an album by one of your favorite artists and found yourself reading through the linear notes trying to find out who was singing the chorus line you love so much?  I’ve found myself doing that, wondering why there wasn’t a ‘feat. So-and-so’ following the track title.  I’ve even Googled songs before, trying to find out what singer was lending their vocals to a particular track to no avail.  But, after watching ’20 Feet From Stardom’ I understand.

The ones with the biggest voices have, until this point in time, have had no voice.

When looking through the roster of singers associated with this documentary, one may instantly gravitate towards names like Ray Charles, David Bowie, Sheryl Crow and Sting, but when you’re finished watching this film, names like Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Judith Hill and Darlene Love will mean more to you.  In fact, the minute the documentary was through I found myself downloaded ‘How Can I Ease the Pain’ by Lisa Fischer, who has one of the most impressive voices I’ve ever heard in my life.  Honestly, she’s up there with Mariah and Whitney as one of the best voices ever to grace the world.  Listening to her sing and realizing that no one knows who she is because she disappeared from center stage so quickly is the sad reality of this industry.

And yet, watching this documentary lets you know that Lisa had a lot to do with that as well.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Two pretty great things happened this weekend...


Alfonso Cuaron won the Oscar (well, pretty much) and this brings me so much delight, since he's an amazing director who should have already won the Oscar back in '06 for his stunning directorial achievement in 'Children of Men', and what he does in 'Gravity' is astonishing to say the least.  The real question is whether or not the film itself will dethrone '12 Years a Slave' and 'American Hustle' for the actual Best Picture Oscar.

And then, we had this:


Jonah Hill wants that Oscar!  He won't win it, since Leto has it in the bag, but this was a great showing for DiCaprio, who is peaking at the right moment, and this actually gave me that feeling you get when you start to watch the Oscars and you see a certain actor or actress and you just KNOW that they are going to win.  I just felt it.  I know that McConaughey is in a GREAT position to take the gold on Oscar night, but I have this feeling the tides are shifting and Leo is going to take it home.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Life, Love and the Movies


The concept is simple.  Answer the questions.  That, my friends, is the hard part.  Scurry on over to My Filmviews for all the details, and please play along.  Leave it to Nostra to once again hand us a pretty awesome blogathon!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fincher + Reznor & Ross = One happy blogger...


Two of the best theatrical scores to come out this decade have been for 'The Social Network' and for 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'.  Thankfully, Fincher has gone back to Reznor and Ross to score his upcoming film, 'Gone Girl'.  This may be expected, but I'm thrilled it's been confirmed.  Now, can they score Oscar gold once again?  Their snub for 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' is gross.  Hopefully they can at least pull off a nomination here.  Maybe Fincher has learnt his lesson and will tell that embargo to fuck itself before it fucks him out of a handful of Oscar nominations.

Let's Review Something: We're the Millers


Comedy these days is tricky.  There are so many films out there that blur those lines to the point where finding a comedy that is undoubtedly ‘funny’ can be difficult.  What is comedy?  What is funny?  Why are there so many dramedies, and what does that even mean anymore?  Why is Adam Sandler still making movies?  Every once in a while though, a film comes along that pretty much defines ‘comedy’, that recklessly throws laughs your way, all caution to the wind, balls to the wall, ‘git ‘er done’ attitude that makes you smile ear to ear.

I can’t promise perfection, but this is clearly comedy!

Conceptually, this sounds like something that really shouldn’t work.  I mean, it is so ridiculous in concept that it really feels and looks like something that should crash and burn in the first act.  Thankfully, the trailer delivered a smidgen of hope in a cast that looked really up to par with the outlandish material, because if it hadn’t been for the cleverly cut trailer, I may have passed on this entirely.

I’m glad that I didn’t.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Let's Review Something: Yossi


I’ve heard a lot of good things about the gay-centered drama ‘Yossi & Jagger’, from the early aughts, but I never got around to seeing it.  Still, I ran across the sequel the other day and decided to give it a watch.  I know what many are thinking, and that is that you really can’t watch a sequel without seeing the first film first, but I’ll say this; ‘Yossi’ is a standalone film and really doesn’t need the first film to be appreciated on its own.  In fact, this film has enough shading of backstory to fill in the audience on what they missed in the first film, and in my eyes this almost works entirely as its own feature, without the presence of ‘Yossi & Jagger’.  This isn’t to say that the films don’t work together, and even work together better (like I said, I’ve only seen this film) but if I didn’t know that there was a film that came before this, I wouldn’t have guessed with while watching ‘Yossi’.  This feels very much like a singular story, and for that I was grateful.

This doesn’t mean that it works entirely, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Let's Review Something: Short Term 12


Sometimes those little films you didn’t see coming will actually come out of nowhere and blindside you, take you by surprise by taking for a ride you don’t want to come down from.  ‘Short Term 12’ was that kind of film for me.  I didn’t believe it had the power to do what it did, and I didn’t feel like I would fall for it as hard as I did.  The premise felt very cliché, a little too cliché for my own taste.  I expected this to be something forced, something manipulative and even worse, something derivative of something else.

Been there done that; now go home and write something else.

Still, the raves kept coming.  The film that Oscar wouldn’t even dream of touching (I mean, the studio didn’t even send out screeners, which after all the Top Ten mentions would have made sense to do) was getting a lot of outside attention, and the year was turning into the ‘did you see that new girl Brie Larson in that phenomenal little indie film’, and soon I was feeling like a complete outcast because I HAD NOT seen ‘Short Term 12’ yet.  I am always late to these kinds of parties though.  I have three kids, a wife, a full time job and a shortage of babysitters and so I rarely get out to the movies, and when I do it is usually to a cartoon of some sort, or an event of sorts (I did manage to see ‘Gravity’ opening night).  The chances of me seeing ‘Short Term 12’ before it was released on DVD was very slim.

But, DVD is here, and I have officially seen, fallen and championed this film.

Let's Review Something: The Act of Killing


I should start by saying that I am not a prude.  The world should know this by now.  I mean, I will watch nearly any and everything, and the squeamish doesn’t make me think any less of you.  I particularly enjoy a film that pushes me; that actually causes me to question things or makes me uncomfortable because of its stance or presentation. 

But honestly, ‘The Act of Killing’ kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

I know that this has been lauded and I know that this has received many (and I mean MANY) awards, but as a complete film I found myself wondering why it was being lauded and praised so deeply.  I understand the point the filmmakers were getting at, and yet while I feel that to a degree (and I guess that degree really depends on who it is that is watching the movie) the film made that point, the point is lost (at least for me) in the filmmakers directorial and visual decisions.  The subject is harrowing, the presentation is creative and the final frames are intoxicating and yet together these all create a film I found somewhat distasteful.

SAG Winners






And lastly, can we just talk about how amazing Rita Moreno is and how she set such a bar for acceptance speeches.  I mean, sure, we already had Diane Keaton try her hand at a little song and dance at the Globes when she accepted Woody's award, but this was just...different.  Moreno was exceptional and I really think everyone at the Oscars should be required to sing their speeches if they want to take the statue home.


Friday, January 17, 2014

One scene mistakes: or how Lee Daniels attained an eclectic cast and failed to do anything with it…


I am not one who considers Lee Daniels a competent filmmaker.  I know that he has an Oscar nomination for his direction of ‘Precious’ (a film that I personally think was pulled back from greatness thanks in large part to Daniels’ shoddy direction) but at the end of the day, this is about personal taste, and while he seems to have a way with actors he really doesn’t understand film composition very well.  All of his films (that I’ve seen) suffer in the very basic way they are constructed, feeling unfocused from start to finish.  He has some ideas that could work, but they would need a skilled filmmaker to give them the heft they need to make a real impact and not feel like a poorly executed gimmick.

Oh, where do I begin?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Awards Tally Updates!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I've adjusted the Awards Tally Page to reflect ONLY Oscar nominees, which will make predicting the winners easier.  I hope that the page has proved helpful over the past few months.

Let's Review Something: Lovelace


Remember that movie ‘Howl’, the one that was supposed to net James Franco an Oscar?  Yeah, I don’t either.  I mean, I remember it only because it had that early-hype due to subject and actor, but I never saw it and I really don’t think many people who didn’t stumble into it while it made the festival circuit did either.  It was directed by these two guys, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, and it got so-so reviews and basically disappeared.

This should have all been a sign.

The 2013 Oscar Nominees


I know that they've been in for a few hours now, but I've been a tad busy this morning and I needed a little time to compose my thoughts.  So, I decided to break these categories down (the ones I predicted) showing how I did on my predictions both yesterday and in April (my first predictions of the year).

My overall score here is 79/107 and in April I was 32/102 (I didn't predict documentary in April).

Here we go:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Final Oscar Predictions!


Well, here we are.  Tomorrow morning the nominations will be announced and we'll know if all this prognosticating, wild card guessing and awards tallying has paid off.  I've stuck to my guns on gut feelings, been persuaded by guild support and flat out been won over by particular performances.  I've calculated in studio pushes, the power of Weinstein and the unpredictable pull of passion votes, and I've come up with a complete batch of predictions that I'm wholly unsure of and more than prepared to bite me in the ass.

But isn't that half the fun?

Let's just get into it, shall we.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blind Spot Series 2014: The Shop Around the Corner

So this year I was determined to participate in The Matinee's 'Blind Spot' series, and my year has already gotten off to a pretty awesome start.  In case you aren't aware, this series (which is pretty self explanatory) challenges bloggers to select a film they have yet to see but feel they should (because of it's regard by the cinematic world or fellow cinephiles) for each month of the new year, watch and review them.  I chose 12 films from the 1940's, since it is a year that I am the least familiar with.

My first film this year was 'The Shop Around the Corner'.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Globes 2014


I really wanted to live blog these last night, since I knew that 90% of everything I was thinking as I was thinking it would be lost in the fog of the morning, but I got shitfaced wasted last night and couldn't type to save my life.  I actually had a list of ten things I loved most about the Globes, but I don't remember most of them.  Tina and Amy should host everything (that Clooney joke was the best of the night), Jennifer Lawrence is the best thing to happen to life since air, the '12 Years a Slave' table needed to lighten the fuck up, Drew Barrymore will wear anything, Cuaron is adorable...

But really...

Friday, January 10, 2014

Let's Review Something: Prince Avalanche


I’ve had a crush on Paul Rudd for a few years.  I’m ok with this.  I’m comfortable enough in my manhood/marriage to admit that (I’ve admitted a lot worse, so…).  I’ll watch him in anything, but even I am aware that his film choices can be questionable.  He seems to like to regurgitate the same character and the same scenarios a lot, and while he’s very good at it, I’ve be anxious for him to stretch himself a bit and do something really great.  On the flipside, I kind of hate Emile Hirsch.  I find his breed of acting to be annoying and false and while he has tried to stretch himself and has chosen some really quality works in the past, I often go out of my way to avoid his films if I can.

I was faced with a conundrum here.

‘Prince Avalanche’ brings both actors (who couldn’t be more different) together with director David Gordon Green (who directed the Malick-esque ‘George Washington’ and then…‘Pineapple Express’?) in a film about isolation, loneliness and self-discovery.  Some will balk that this film doesn’t go anywhere or doesn’t say anything or is devoid of real story or plot and yet to those I say “dig deeper” and “look closer” and you will see, because it is all there.

Let's Review Something: Our Children


Utter frustration is a feeling that I hate to feel.  It is also a feeling that can, at time, endear me to a film or a particular performance because I find myself longing to correct what I cannot and seeking any way (racking my brain mostly) that they can fix their plight and find that happy ending, even when it is obvious that all is lost and there is no light at the end of this very dark and dense tunnel.  I love tension and dramatics and that emotional connection to a film that is caused, and carried, by suffering and so I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because I like it when a film can reduce me to tears, and I don’t mean happy tears (although those are welcome as well).

There were many moments during ‘Our Children’ when I found myself clenching my fists in anger as a solitary tear slid down my cheek.

This movie is devastating.

Let's Review Something: Fill the Void


Cultural films offer us a deeper insight into worlds we otherwise know little about, and so for that reason alone, I love to discover little films like ‘Fill the Void’.  Tense family dramas are also very much my cup of tea, and so I was all set to really enjoy (even love) this little talked about film from director Rama Burshtein.

I expected a little more than this.

I’m not saying that ‘Fill the Void’ doesn’t offer us a languid story and one that is actually quite interesting, but (and no pun intended here) there is a void that the film never really fills.  There are so many intriguing aspects of this story and so many wonderful plot points and yet they all feel somewhat barren in the end because the film lacks the needed shading and the needed ‘fleshing out’ to make all of these facets come together strongly.  There is the base plot, that central theme that runs through and it is, in a way, developed well enough, but everything revolving around it needed more time to stew (or a sharper, tighter script that could have developed it quicker) and instead creates a film that feels underdeveloped and somewhat forgettable.

ACE Eddie Nominations


Dramatic Film
12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Her
Saving Mr. Banks

Comedy/Musical Film
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
The Wolf of Wall Street

Animated Film
Despicable Me 2
Frozen
Monsters University

Documentary
20 Feet from Stardom
Blackfish
Tim's Vermeer

REACTION:  Rush is pretty much dead.  It should have easily snuck in here instead of Saving Mr. Banks, for it's editing is raved and is said to be VERY showy (I still haven't seen the film) so you can probably write it off for Oscar noms (maybe in Sound it'll show up) and this means really good things for Gandolfini.  I know, you may say that these categories are not related, but support is support and Bruhl needed more support for his film, which seems to have NO passion (not even a cinematography mention in a field of SEVEN the other day).

Also, Stories We Tell missing here is bullshit, since it's the single best edited film I've seen all year regardless of category, and far better than Blackfish.  I'm stunned it missed.

I'm pretty confident that our Oscar lineup is going to be 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity & The Wolf of Wall Street.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

ADG


Period Film
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks

Fantasy Film
Elysium
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Oblivion
Star Trek into Darkness

Contemporary Film
August: Osage County
Blue Jasmine
Captain Phillips
Her
The Wolf of Wall Street


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Poster Break: The Oscars


ASC


12 Years a Slave
Captain Phillips
The Grandmaster
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
Prisoners

CDGA


The Costume Designers Guild of America has announced their nominees today.  The question is, will any other nominees surface with Oscar?  The Wolf of Wall Street missed here (I'm wondering if it was due to poor category placement) but it is rising fast and could appear with Oscar.  

Period Film
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Dallas Buyers Club
The Great Gatsby
Saving Mr. Banks

Contemporary Film
Blue Jasmine
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Fantasy Film
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Oz: The Great and Powerful

BAFTA Nominations are in!


Best Picture
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Philomena

REACTION:  This is what I expected to see this morning.  No surprises here.  All five of these films could repeat with Oscar, although Philomena is obviously at the bottom of this totem pole.

Outstanding British Film
Gravity
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Rush
Saving Mr. Banks
The Selfish Giant

REACTION:  I just wonder if this means Gravity is taking this and 12 Years a Slave taking film, since they didn't even bother to nominate 12 Years a Slave here, and isn't that British?

Director
Alfonso Cuaron/Gravity
Paul Greengrass/Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen/12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell/American Hustle
Martin Scorsese/The Wolf of Wall Street

REACTION:  These matched up with DGA, while I personally was expecting to see Jonze here.  Does this mean Jonze is dead?  Scorsese is blazing a trail to the Oscars, but I wonder if he gets the shaft for Jonze in the end.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DGA

Cuaron~Gravity

Greengrass~Captain Phillips

McQueen~12 Years a Slave

O. Russell~American Hustle

Scorsese~The Wolf of Wall Street

Let's Review Something: Violet & Daisy


So, for some reason this movie was held up in production hell for two years.  It was originally shot and released (partially) in 2011 and yet it never saw an official US release until early 2013.  Conceptually and stylistically, I can see why this wouldn’t necessarily pull in big box-office numbers, and I’m sure that the passing of James Gandolfini bolstered interest in its release this year (not like they planned for that to happen, but they did release this a month after his death), but I’m really surprised that it took THIS long for it to drop.

It isn’t anything special, but it has its merits and should be seen.

I’m a little concerned that society is becoming too obsessed with pre-teens and teens killing people.  With ‘The Hunger Games’ being SO successful and all these young adult series featuring young kids taking the reins and killing and killing and doing more killing and films like ‘Hanna’ and ‘Violet & Daisy’ (both starring Saoirse Ronan) turning teens into assassins I’m beginning to worry about the collective interests of the world. 

Why is this such a ‘thing’?

I’m not saying that the idea isn’t something to be toyed with on occasion, and ‘Hanna’ in particular was a VERY strong film, but I fail to see why it’s become so popular.  Let’s space it out a bit.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Let's Review Something: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty


Ben Stiller is an interesting celebrity.  He’s built his career on playing the lovable dork, the guy who you can’t help but like to be around but who can’t help but screw everything up.  The general public embraces him, and he has yet to completely tarnish his career by following the career path of Adam Sandler (who was always a more abrasive and easily dislikable comedian to begin with).  Stiller has never been offensive in his film choices and yet he’s never been all that adventurous either.  He kind of stays in a comfortable wheelhouse and rarely ventures outside of that box.

Looking at his film career from the standpoint of an actor is one thing, but looking at his career as a director can bring a different feeling.  He’s now directed five films, and they are all rather notable.  ‘Reality Bites’ is a sincere film about those confusing teenage years (and it has some really identifiable social commentary), ‘The Cable Guy’ was a huge moment for Jim Carry and continues to be considered a comedic cult classic.  ‘Zoolander’ is one of the funniest movies of the aughts and ‘Tropic Thunder’ (I didn’t even know he directed that) netted an Oscar nomination for one of its stars.

It’s a great list, but then ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ comes along and brings something entirely new and different to the table.

Introducing the worst film of 2013…


Honestly, I’m not sure how it could get any worse than this.

I was dragged to this film by my children who expressed no desire to see it until their friends invited them on a play date and I was then forced into chaperoning alongside a friend of mine who apparently got into this movie.  I don’t get it, and obviously everything has an audience, but this is one of those films that just don’t deserve one.  Pointless, unfunny, redundant, silly and boring; ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ is easily the worst film I’ve seen all year, and it’ll take an absolute miracle of crap for something to dethrone it.

BAFTA Rising Star Nominees

Dane DeHane

George MacKay

Lupita Nyong'o

Will Poulter

Lea Seydoux

Sunday, January 5, 2014

National Society of Film Critics


Best Picture
Inside Llewyn Davis

Director
Joel & Ethan Coen / Inside Llewyn Davis

Foreign Film
Blue is the Warmest Color

Documentary
TIE: The Act of Killing & At Berkeley

Screenplay
Before Midnight

Cinematography
Inside Llewyn Davis

Actor
Oscar Isaac / Inside Llewyn Davis

Actress
Cate Blanchett / Blue Jasmine

Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence / American Hustle

Supporting Actor
James Franco / Spring Breakers

REACTION:  Does this mean 'Inside Llewyn Davis' isn't dead?  I love all these mentions for Franco (I called it) even though he has no chance for an Oscar nod.  This was a great day (yesterday) for The Coen Brothers, but I'm still shaky on their Oscar chances.  I was worried from the beginning because of the studio being so small, but the critics won me over.  The guilds have been less inviting, and they are really what matters when it comes to Oscar chances, so I'm thinking that it could wind up on the outside looking in.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Watch List: First Third

So trying to come up with a Top Ten most anticipated films of 2014 is hard.  I see them floating around the web and I really wanted to participate, but there are so many I want to see and so many uncertainties that it became more of a hassle to actually condense my list than to just expand it.  So, I'm expanding it.  I've decided to focus on the year in thirds (Jan-April, May-August, Sept.-Dec.) and so I'm going to post my Baker's Dozen (because I couldn't even cut it to ten) for the first third below.  These are the 13 films that I want to try and see in the theater.  It won't happen.  I'll see maybe three of them in the theater, but a boy can dream.

WGA


ADAPTED
August: Osage County
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Lone Survivor
The Wolf of Wall Street

REACTION:  This one is kind of pointless since big guns like '12 Years a Slave' were ineligible here.  That being said, I'm surprised by the love for 'Lone Survivor' by the guilds, since it looks like such a terrible movie.

ORIGINAL
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club
Her
Nebraska

REACTION:  I had a feeling after PGA that 'Dallas Buyers Club' might show up here.  It really is gaining a lot of momentum.  It's funny because I had zero faith in 'Inside Llewyn Davis' before it was showered with critics attention, and now that I have faith in it, it seems to be losing all the steam it had up until this point.  This could be very telling.