Friday, November 28, 2014

Twice a Best Actress Bloggers Roundtable: Ingrid Bergman


I hope everyone had fun stuffing their faces yesterday, if that is what you do, or spending time with friends and family, if that is what you do...or just embraced a day off of work, if that is what you were given.  Whatever.  I hope everyone had fun yesterday, but yesterday is over and today is upon us and it is Friday which means it's...TWICE A BEST ACTRESS DAY!!!!

Today we talk about Ingrid Bergman.  I just...I'm speechless.  Bergman was a Goddess...and transcendent light of absolute brilliance.  

But, enough about me...

Here's the panel:

Andrew from The Films the Thing
Drew from A Fistful of Films
Sati from Cinematic Corner

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Trailer Break: Pan


So, I've been wanting to discuss this but haven't had the time, and so now I have a few minutes so let's talk.  I've been anticipating something visual here for a while, since this is probably my most anticipated film of 2015, I'm not going to lie.  Peter Pan is probably my favorite faitytale and one of my favorite books ever and Joseph Wright is one of my favorite new voices in cinema, and so his hands all over this tale made my eyes water with absolute excitement.

Yes, tears of joy were had.

So, after all the casting rumors and trash talk (multicultural means porcelain skin and different hair colors apparently), I was still really, really chomping at the bit for something to sink my eyes into and now we have it, the first trailer for Wright's Pan, due out next summer.

What do we think?

I'm kind of spellbound.  This looks like Hugo meets Oliver Twist meets Hook, and while some of it does have that cartoony feel I was hoping would be avoided (and Jackman looks a little, silly), there are some seriously gorgeous moments in that trailer, like the whole first half, and the visuals are remarkable (that floating ship, like MY GOD).  But most of all, I'm so excited to see another great child performance.  Levi Miller looks like pitch perfect casting, full of charm and charisma and undeniable talent.  He holds his own throughout that entire trailer, and while that is obviously just a snippet of a whole performance, he already has my attention.  The music choices, flash cuts and storybook aura of the trailer are really promising.  

I can't wait for this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Independent Spirit Award Nominations...


So, I picked up a second job a few weeks ago, which is only supposed to take up 3 days out of my schedule, but between training and the upcoming holiday and the fact that everyone else decided to take vacation at the same time...I've been swamped and working like a dog.  I have no time to sit at the computer anymore and so my blog is sorely lacking.

I mean, I didn't even get to post these when they went live...I didn't even KNOW they went live until last night.

Like, WHAT THE HELL!?!?!

Anyways, before I'm off to work...AGAIN, I'm going to post these for discussion.  Please don't feel I'm neglecting your comments.  I just don't have the time, ATM, to respond in a manner that I feel is appropriate.  This grind will be over next week, so hopefully Tuesday things will simmer down some.

So...here are the noms.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Twice a Best Actress Bloggers Roundtable: Meryl Streep


It's Friday, which means it's Twice a Best Actress Day!  Now, I know that a lot of times we cover actresses and performances that you may not be entirely familiar with, but this is Meryl Streep week, and I know you've seen these performances...so expect a lot of comments this week!

I have to say, this wasn't fun.  Rewatching these movies was...hard.  One isn't awful, but it's finale slays me, and the other is...well, we're about to review it so I'll leave it at that.

First, our esteemed panel:

Andrew from The Films the Thing
Drew from A Fistful of Films
Sati from Cinematic Corner

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Legendary Nichols has left us...


We've broached the awfulness of waking up to bad news before.  This has happened many times in the past two years.  Such cinematic legends have been taken from us, some tragically too soon, but even when that individual has been with us for decades, as with the case of Nichols, it is still heartbreaking.  Mike Nichols, at the ripe old age of 83, has left us.  His legacy is a strong one, maybe not necessarily from the quality of film (which is debatable, as is all art), but his talent as an actors director was undeniable.  What he was able to pull out of his actors was just remarkable.  It's no surprise that he managed to direct his actors to 18 total Oscar nominations (ironically, this is the same number of feature films he directed).  Sure, the iconic nature of some of these remarkable performances are often attributed to the actors or actresses who portrayed them on the screen, but without the guiding hand of a deft director, they would never have been able to reach the heights they did.  So, to celebrate Nichols' legacy, I've put together a Top Ten Performances He Directed.  This is strictly film (mostly because I haven't seen Angels in America), but his film work is truly vibrant and full of varied performances, so it's worth singling out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blind Spot Series 2014: Stray Dog

I think I'm down to the wire with this one (was it due yesterday or tomorrow?), but my Blind Spot entry is here, finally (you can catch the rest of them here).  I have had such an awfully busy month that it took me like three attempts to actually watch this, and of course each time I felt the need to start from the beginning so I think I saw the first thirty minutes of this three times this past week.

I'm talking about Stray Dog by Akira Kurosawa.

I'm a big fan or Kurosawa's work, so I was really excited about this one.  I only wish that this had lived up to my lofty expectations...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fisti Awards updates and news...


Well, the 1998 Fisti Awards are finished and posted here on the 90's Fisti Awards Page.  All the techs are up, with a few films making multiple showings.  There were some really beautiful films, from so many different eras and so spreading the wealth was fun, with only one repeat winner in the entirety of the techs.

So speak your mind and let me know what you think of these wins and nominees!

And I have some other Fisti Awards news.  So, I've been unhappy with my Awards Pages for some time.  I just feel like they are so cluttered, but when I started this blog I didn't really know how to work the site and so I created these pages unaware of how full they would feel once I started wrapping up the years.  So, I've decided to delete the pages and republish all of the awards as individual posts that will be linked on a singular page, that way you can just click on the year and see my awards for it.  I think it'll make reading them so much easier and will streamline the comments and the focus as well.

So, 1998 will be the last awards posted for a while while we wade through Oscar season and then, once the madness as settled, we'll start reposting (with some commentary on how I feel about these awards already doled) the already published awards as well as any that have become finalized in the time between (1982 and 1961 are really close).

Until then...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Carell stakes a claim in the Best Actor race...



Back at the beginning of the year, I was really confident that Steve Carell was going to be an Oscar nominee for Foxcatcher.  In fact, for quite a few months I was predicting that he'd win the actual Oscar.  In recent months though, this category has started to fill out and raves have been dolled out and frontrunners have become clear and the fact that his performance and film, while well received, are notably cold and off-putting have caused me to doubt his place in this race.  In fact, I have him outside my Top Five for the first time all year.  

Well, this year he's receiving the Santa Barbara 'Outstanding Performer of the Year' Award, and so he's suddenly shooting back on my radar.

I'm not sure that this will mean much (although previous winners include Oscar winners Firth, Lawrence, Cruz, Mirren, Ledger and Winslet), but it's something, and with a field filled to the brim with young-bloods in baity biopics, maybe goodwill for a veteran (of sorts) actor with his first brush with Oscar could mean something.

Indie Contenders Roundtable...


So here is another roundtable, this time discussing Independent Film-making.  I couldn't find this on YouTube in its entirety, and I couldn't embed the video from the source, so please hit the link above and check this out.  This is pretty interesting, even if it never really goes where the interviewer is trying to take it.  I felt bad for him, to be honest, because you could see that he was trying to sway the conversation in very specific directions and looking for very specific answers and these 'thespians' were splintering off in any which direction they so chose.  Still, this makes for an interesting listen, and unlike the writers roundtable, where it really seemed like there was one dominant force, the questions and answers are spread pretty even here, and the entire panel gets a chance to elaborate on their views regarding film-making, interesting projects, their craft and more.  Cotillard, for once, doesn't come off dumb (I love her, SO MUCH, but she interviews horribly), and Stewart, despite her bundle of nerves, really holds her own.  Monaghan is probably the fish out of water here, and I was really surprised at how easy Hader just sifted into this panel.  He fit right in.  Stories about Swinton's early acting years, Cotillard's desire to have her directors give their life for their films and Hader and Gyllenhaal taking jabs at each other and themselves made for a really diverse and playful panel.  It's a little over an hour, but well worth a listen.

Hollywood Film Awards!


So, Friday night, for the first time in the 17 years that this has been a thing, The Hollywood Film Awards presented their ceremony live on television.  I saw about twenty minutes of this.  I saw Jack O'Connell bow to Angelina Jolie, Chris Rock completely dismiss this awards show as the joke that it is, Michael Keaton start his march towards Oscar and Johnny Depp become this years John Travolta and then I was done.  I didn't catch it from the beginning because in all honesty I forgot that they were even getting their own time slot this year.  I did get into some kind of weird Twitter debate with Sasha over at AwardsDaily (I have no desire to link her site, but look it up if you want) about whether or not these were really all that important (they are not) and she seemed really sore that people were dismissing these (but, let's be honest, she's sore about everything).

I'll report of these, and the Globes (which don't really matter either) and the BFCA (which, let's face it, have never mattered) and the Ohio Film Critics Society (which may or may not still exist this year) because, who am I kidding...this is awards season and I want to talk about every single award, no matter how little it matters in the complete scheme of things.

THIS IS WHY I BLOG!!!

So, let's talk about the Hollywood Film Awards, voted on by about a dozen people and existing only to try and predict the Oscars by creating a slew of categories allowing them to honor everyone in contention for an Oscar.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I married that cunt…


And I can say that because I love her.

At one point in ‘Gone Girl’, Amy Dunne, in one of her many narrated diary entries, makes the statement that many warned her, “Marriage is hard work”.  This is really the one thing that stood out the most to me while watching ‘Gone Girl’, and while it is far from  the only point made in this surprisingly deft marital observation, it is the one that lingers the most and possibly the reason that I find this film to be so universally effective.  There is no denying that much of ‘Gone Girl’ is absurd.  We can’t escape that reality.  The integral plot points are so crisply shaped in this world of preposterousness and yet it all feels so richly observant.  This film says so much about relationships, the way that they are shaped, how they breathe, shift, change and dissolve.  I hate that so many are missing the point of this film, instead giving too much attention to the obvious camp aspects, which are there to exaggerate the honesty here and not to distract from them.

Gillian Flynn could be a genius, or maybe that genius is David Fincher.

It’s probably a combination of the two.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Twice a Best Actress Bloggers Roundtable: Elizabeth Taylor


Happy Twice a Best Actress Day to all!!!  It's Elizabeth Taylor day.  I'm so excited about this, because Taylor is one of those screen icons I still get goosebumps thinking about.  She was the true definition of a star, a glamorous icon who had the talent to back up her undeniable charisma and allure.  To cap it all off, her Oscar wins (at least one of them) is swirling in controversy, so it makes debating it all all the more delicious.

And guess what, the panel is ALL OVER THE PLACE when discussing that divisive turn!

Here we are:

Andrew from The Films the Thing
Drew from A Fistful of Films
Sati from Cinematic Corner

Thursday, November 13, 2014

It's Blogger Appreciation Day


So, I've been mulling this over for a while now.  I've talked before about how blogging really is a group effort and how, without each others support, our blogs just wouldn't exist.  We feed off the response we get from other bloggers.  I've seen many fledgling bloggers start up their own spaces for spouting their opinions only to have them give up a few months in due to the lack of comments from other bloggers.  It's a real shame.  Since A Fistful of Films was started, back in 2011, I've been fortunate to see it grow to the point where I have a steady flow of visitors and comments.  Sure, it isn't where I'd like it to be, and there are days where the lack of comments depresses me, but I'm in a lot better shape than I was four years ago.

The reason that this blog is still around is because of you, and so today I wanted to thank you and tell you all that I appreciate you.  Now, rambling off a list of blogs that I visit or that visit me could take forever and it could be tedious, so I have a contained list of fellow blogs that I'm going to make special mention of, for special reasons, and I really beg you to take a gander at the list and visit these blogs because they work hard and deserve your attention.  

I can't tell you how much it hurts to invest in visiting other blogs, leaving comments, lending support and encouragement only to have those bloggers NEVER visit you back, never leave you a comment and basically forget you exist, even when you spend day after day trying to build a blogging relationship with them.

I know of few of those, and I have eventually stopped stopping by.

So, without further ado, I implore you to take a look at the list of incredible blogging voices I have listed below:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Could you please hold this shield while I punch you in the face?


I had serious issues with ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’.  What started as a really incredibly mapped out origin story (with some superb visual effects) fell flat in the end as it tried to cram everything into the remaining minutes, making the film come off rushed and unfocused.  I just couldn’t rally behind it, and despite all the raves and beloved notices from fans, I was left feeling it was below its potential and a wasted effort.

In fact, most of the recent Marvel outpourings have left me feeling like they were wasted opportunities.  It’s not that I hated them, but the massive amounts of buzz and legions of fans had me always expecting something more than I got.

You know, except for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, which was a masterpiece of genre.

So it was with this expectation of being underwhelmed that I sat down with the bestie to watch ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’.  Yes, I was seeing it for the hype, despite my adverse reaction to the hype of its predecessors.  Yes, I was seeing it for the reviews, which were remarkably good.  Yes, I was seeing it at the prodding of the guy sitting next to me on the couch.  But let’s be honest here; I was seeing this for Scarlett Johansson.

The 1998 Lead Acting Fisti Nominees!

"I heard they nominated BOTH of us!!!"
Yeah, I just buckled and got these done!  I wanted to post these before time got away from me, and work has been so crazy hectic and so unpredictably so that I knew if I didn't take advantage of a few minutes of silence that it would be a week or two before I got these out.  So...let's talk Fisti noms!

Of Oscar's ten lead nominees, I personally nominate six, three in each category.  All in all, Oscar did rather well with their nominees, even if I didn't care much for the outcomes of their evening (especially in Lead Actor).  I don't want this to be a complete Paltrow discussion, but can we at least clear the air about the ridiculous loathing surrounding her Oscar win.  Like, I get it...Blanchett is an acting genius and is beloved by many and Paltrow has taken the promise of her career and disregarded it for a life of snobbery and child rearing, but her year back in 1998 was just remarkable!

She's not my winner, but her win was deserved.

Well, let's look at the ballots:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Blood is thicker than celluloid...


Family tension, gritty 70’s crime sprees, hookers, conflicted cops, jilted convicts, blood in the streets; ‘Blood Ties’ has it all.  Now, I say all of this and the first thing you’re going to think is that this movie is one of those tightly wound action flicks that star Bruce Willis and are directed by Michael Bay and yet ‘Blood Ties’ defies it’s genre and it’s material by maintaining a slow burn with a slick cast and a smart director.  It never thrusts too much in your face at one time, but pulls back and develops a rich tapestry of characters, themes and plot points over the course of two hours that leave us absorbed in this world.

Let's talk the Supporting Fisti nominees of 1998!

"Get your hands off my Fisti Award!"

Things are slowly coming together for the publication of the 1998 Fisti Awards.  I don't know why, but I've just been so busy and slow moving on these, despite the fact that they are wrapped up (all films have been seen and all ballots are finalized).  So, moving on, let's talk about the Supporting Roles.  These are two of my favorite Supporting ballots of the 90's and two of my favorite wins in the complete Fisti Awards database so far.  There was such range this year and so many wonderful ensembles that finalizing these ballots were difficult.  I also ran into a lot of category confusion (is it a pure ensemble?  are they all supporting?  is this category fraud?) and I wound up making some last minute judgement calls and category shifts to finalize these ballots.

They are posted on the Awards Page, but let's post them here too and talk about them for a minute.

Monday, November 10, 2014

One Look: The Scarlett Johansson Chronicles


It started with a brilliant idea from the glorious Brittani over at Rambling Film.  She posted this great post on Brilliant Acting with Just One Look, inspired by the wonderful work David Fincher does with his actors.  Then, Ruth over at Flixchatter followed suit, presenting us with her 10 Brilliant Acting Performances Defined by One Look.

Then this happened:



 I meant to do this sooner, and then Sati over at Cinematic Corner posted her Brilliant Acting Defined by One Look and I thought...DO THIS NOW!

So here I am.

So basically the idea is to draw attention to actors who have used a simple look to convey so much in a simple scene.  Sometimes an actor walks away with an entire movie just by the way they stare right into your soul.  For me, one actress who has the ability to say so much with just her face, is Scarlett Johansson.  She's used this gift in so many spectacular ways, and so I decided to dedicate this entire idea to her brilliance.

So here is a Top Ten of Scarlett's use of One Look:


Disney has achieved immortality…


I find it rather interesting that, in a year FULL of recognizable superhero faces in film, the two superhero films that will be remembered the fondest are the ones spawned from comic books that no one has ever heard of before.  ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and Disney’s latest gem, ‘Big Hero 6’, have the reviews to back up their critical appeal and audience support.  They have staked a claim in the box office race and have established themselves as two of the most memorable films of the year.  Who would have guessed that the world would forget that a ‘Spider Man’ movie was even released this year or that the two worlds of the ‘X-Men’ cohabited for a few hours?  Instead, we’re all talking about the rise of Chris Pratt and the world of San Fransokyo!

Disney has been on a serious roll as of late.  Last decade they felt sort of irrelevant, with Pixar completely annihilating them in storyboards and visual presentation, but then 2010 brought them their biggest critical and commercial success in years, ‘Tangled’, and things started to change for them.  They followed that up with ‘Wreck-It Ralph’, which was such an incredibly inspired departure for Disney and, for me, established their newfound creativity.

Then they conquered the world with ‘Frozen’.


This year they delivered their first superhero animated adaptation since purchasing the rights to the Marvel universe, and it comes with a lot of hype, anticipation and, after their recent successes, expectation.  The world is waiting with baited breath to discover if Disney is able to follow up their biggest success EVER with a film just as worthy.  ‘Big Hero 6’ was a serious risk, but not the risk one may initially assume.  In fact, it was a smart risk.  Sure, your average superhero fan will have no idea who these characters are, and yet that doesn’t really matter much, like it did with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ (which really didn’t matter much in the end since WOM was so strong and the film lived up, so it KILLED at the box office), because Disney already has a built in fan base and legions of children who will drag their parents to the movies regardless of whether or not they’ve ever heard of Baymax.  It’s a smart risk because tackling an unknown entity offers Disney the opportunity to basically recreate this world, Disney it all up for families and not really offend anybody.

Just Google the original comic series and you’ll see just how Disney’d up this whole movie really was!

The question is, does ‘Big Hero 6’ live up to the promise?  Is this a worthy follow up to the massive success of ‘Frozen’?  Did Disney succeed in officially reclaiming their place as the go-to studio for animated adventures?

Pretty much, yes.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sometimes it's not about what you want...


Last year I had to endure the deaths of two of my favorite actors; James Gandolfini and Philip Seymour Hoffman.  I remember sitting in the theater watching ‘Enough Said’ and literally crying my eyes out (I had to get up and walk to the back of the theater so my wife wouldn’t make fun of me).  It was just so hard to take, to watch an actor I loved so much delivering such a heartwarming performance, the best of his career, and to know that he would never be able to do that again.  The difference between Gandolfini and Hoffman is that Hoffman made a career of career best performances.  Since his early years in film, he was a force, and since about 1998 he has continued to deliver ‘the best performance of his career’ time after time.

He was always one-upping himself.

With his death still looming over me, the prospect of watching ‘A Most Wanted Man’ and seeing what would most surely be his last great performance gave me an overwhelming feeling.  I was excited, because it was one of my favorite actors, but I was near depression knowing that it was the end.

Hoffman, as expected, does not disappoint.

European Film Academy Nominees...


We can once again balk that these mean nothing with regards to accurate Oscar predicting, but they are Awards nonetheless, and this is a site dedicated to film and awards and so let's get to dishing.  Besides, we love European film here at A Fistful of Films and so any awards body that is going to reward and bring awareness to films that are often overlooked by the American public is a great thing in my eyes.

Sadly, they chose to highlight that awful Ida movie and that abomination known as Nymphomaniac, but beggars can't really be choosers, can they?

They can't.

So, let's take a look at the official nominees for the 2014 European Film Awards (and some of the early winners).

Saturday, November 8, 2014

At least I tried...


I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the target audience for a film like ‘Fury’.  I just have a really hard time connecting to war films.  I’ve seen many over the years and yet the only one that I can think of off the top of my head that has really made a real impact on me was ‘The Thin Red Line’.  I’ve seen and enjoyed many films about war and the effects of war, but those really aren’t war films, are they?  ‘The Cranes are Flying’ is a superb film, but it isn’t about the actual warfare.  Anyways, my point is that I walked into ‘Fury’ kind of aware of the fact that I probably wasn’t going to love it.  That being said, I’m always open to having my mind changed, and so I was prepared to give it its due attention and decide for myself.

My initial reaction was, “this is dumb” and while my opinion of the film has warmed (ever so slightly) since leaving the theater, I must admit that I still don’t really care much for this movie.

‘Fury’ tells the story of a five person crew manning a tank behind enemy lines during World War II.  The crew is led by a seeming emotionless Wardaddy and contains a hodgepodge of personalities.  There’s the religious man, the slovenly creep, Mr. confidence and the greenhorn. 

That’s all I got.

I love you like a fool...


Back in 2007, I was spellbound with a little movie called ‘Once’.  It was full of magic and charm and just this earthy subtlety that compelled me to every scene.  And, there was the music, which was just enchanting and completely where my musical taste was at, at that time.  Revisiting the film only leaves me warm inside.  It still has all of the wonderful richness that made it so special and such a triumph nearly ten years ago.

Yes, I will be seeing it on the stage this winter.

So, this begs the question, “why has it taken this long for director John Carney to give us a follow up?”

Well, technically Carney has made two films in between ‘Once’ and ‘Begin Again’, but one was a thriller and the other was a comedy about some guy in a red suit pretending to be an alien.  They don’t count.  But, absence does make the heart grow fonder, and I couldn’t be fonder of ‘Begin Again’ than I am right now.  In fact, the same warm ‘smitten’ feeling I got the first time I saw ‘Once’ has fallen over me and I find myself chomping at the bit to watch it again…and again…and again.  While it doesn’t quite have that gritty realism that ‘Once’ encompassed, ‘Begin Again’ being a far more polished and detailed work, it carries with it the same passionate sentiment that made the 2007 breakout film so delightful.

And this ensemble, as varied as it is, is exquisite.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Twice a Best Actress Bloggers Roundtable: Bette Davis


Bette Davis.  One of the most recognizable faces and beloved talents of Classic Hollywood.  Her reputation was as long as her talent, and just as...colorful.  It makes sense that she has won two Lead Actress Oscars.  In fact, many would probably assume that she has more than two (she, sadly, doesn't).  This week on Twice a Best Actress, our panel is discussing the two films that she did win for.

It is weeks like this that make me absolutely ecstatic that I decided to make this a group thing and not just do these on my own.  The differences in opinion on these roles/performances is what makes this so much more fun.  This panel is incredible, hard working and so opinionated I absolutely LOVE IT!

Speaking of their awesomeness, here they are:

Andrew from The Films the Thing
Drew from A Fistful of Films
Sati from Cinematic Corner

Thursday, November 6, 2014

THR Writer's Oscar Roundtable


It's that time of year for The Hollywood Reporter to host their Oscar Roundtables, and the first one up is the writers!  This is an interesting batch of writers here.  

First time feature screenwriter Graham Moore (The Imitation Game) and Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) make sense in a big way, since their movies are going to be on Oscar's radar for sure, but there were a lot of ways this could have gone and didn't in the construction of this panel.  Flynn is a welcome inclusion, especially since her script is my favorite this year (and I have a feeling she'll be an Oscar nominee for Gone Girl) and Nolan makes sense considering that his contribution to his brother's films is just as important as Christopher's direction, really.  But...Chris Rock and Jon Favreau seem like odd choices.  Considering that I just watched Chef today and found my only real issue in the script itself, I must say that I was a little baffled by Favreau's inclusion, but he was my absolute favorite part of this roundtable.  He is incredibly insightful and has such a distinct and knowledgeable opinion of his craft.  I just wish that he would make a truly great movie.

Overall, this was interesting.  Rock tries really hard, but he's saved by his chemistry with Favreau.  McCarten says nearly nothing and for long stretches I forgot that he was even there.  Flynn holds her own really well and maintains her composure when Nolan starts talking about the difference in the way men and women approach a story (I was cringing for how uncomfortable that could have become).  Speaking of Nolan, I found it hilarious the amount of times he got cut off.  I felt for poor Graham, who really seemed out of his depth.  He had some great points, but his greenness showed and he just felt so damn nervous.

Alas, this is a pretty great watch.  I can't wait for the rest of them!

A tasty surprise…


I’m not going to lie; ‘Chef’ is a movie that was kind of made to make me happy.  A foodie by nature, and by choice, there are few things to me as rewarding as eating a delicious meal, and the more experimental, interesting and unique the better.  One of the few things that is actually better than eating that meal, for me at least, is cooking it myself.  Yup, not only am I a foodie by nature, but I’m a beast in the kitchen (yes, I’m modest).  Food is, outside of my children, my biggest passion.  It makes me happier than anything else in the world.  That’s what I do, it’s how I unwind.  Open a bottle of wine, heat up the stovetop and let the minutes turn into hours as everything just melts away into a pot, pan, skillet or all of the above.

The fact that my dream is to one day own my own food truck was only icing on this cinematic cake for me.

Tossed out the nest and forced to fall to the ground and die…


I’m one of the few who didn’t fall head over heels in love with the first ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, back in 2010.  I liked the film, I really did, and my kids loved it, but for me, 2010 had a slew of much better animated films to swoon over.  Obviously, there was the Oscar winning ‘Toy Story 3’, but I also found both ‘Despicable Me’ and ‘Tangled’ to be better films than ‘How to Train Your Dragon’.  Maybe it’s because I don’t have an animal, but then again, I’ve had them all throughout my childhood, so it’s not like I couldn’t relate at all.

Regardless of my apathetic stance on the first film, I must admit that seeing the second one in the theaters made me kind of excited.  I was a real fan of the visual scope of the original, and seeing that played out on the big screen seemed appealing.  I also love Cate Blanchett, and she was a surprising addition to the voice cast; one that I was happy to see there.  My kids were also older, and I love seeing their excitement bubble over at the theater, and if the film was at least halfway entertaining and exciting then I’ll have a good time.

For some weird reason my kids wound up seeing this in the theater without me and I was left at home.

Boo!

Bad behavior at its best...


To say that ‘Neighbors’ is something new or fresh and previously undone would be a pretty big lie.  I mean, this isn’t something we haven’t seen done many times before.  But, to say that ‘Neighbors’ feels new and fresh and previously undone is not that big of a stretch because, well, it’s hilarious and every joke leads so effortlessly into the next in a way that feels so new and fresh and previously undone.

I never stopped laughing.

‘Neighbors’ is not a movie you walk into expecting brilliance.  You walk into it expecting to laugh a few times and maybe see some boobs.  I know that sounds shallow, but it’s the truth.  For me, I love Rogen, so I was expecting more than just a few laughs.  I’ll be honest though, I wasn’t expecting this many.  So, the other night, while chilling on the couch with the bestie, a few beers and a half eaten pizza between us, we started watching probably the funniest movie I’ve seen in years.  Of course, by this I don’t mean the best comedy, or even the smartest, cleverest comedy, but I mean the most laugh-out-loud funny movie I’ve seen in a very, very long time.

I’m serious; I never stopped laughing.

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I get shot and die…


Back in 2010, the world was introduced to a promising young director.  His name was David Michod.  The film we saw was ‘Animal Kingdom’, and it was incredible.  He was such a fresh, fierce new voice that had such vision and such focus.

What is this mess?

I don’t think I’ve been this disappointed in a follow up film since I saw ‘Only God Forgives’ after the brilliant ‘Drive’.  Why do directors with such vision lose their way in this seeming arrogant, pretentious way, mucking their way through something that doesn’t make sense just so they can say that they made what they wanted to make and not what someone told them to make?  We can’t all be Terrence Malick!  We can’t all film a landscape and a spider and people staring at each other and call it art because, unless you know what you’re doing, that landscape and spider and staring contest means absolutely nothing.

‘The Rover’ means absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Animated Oscar Prospects Emerge...


So, we officially have 20 animated films submitted to Oscar this year, which means that we will have five nominees!  I really wish that this kind of thing would happen in years where the pool is deep with really deserving films.  

But alas, here we have the list:

November Oscar Predictions!


I try and I fail.  My goal each month is to have my monthly predictions up on the 1st and that doesn't ever seem to happen.  Oh well.  There's no time like the present to talk about what it is you want to talk about, so let's talk about the Oscars!  We're getting closer, and awards season has officially begun (as we saw, Gothams have already announced their nominees).  Things will start to get clearer and clearer over the next month, so the December predictions will start to see some serious shaping, I'm sure.

So let's get on with the final set of blind predictions!

Monday, November 3, 2014

BIFA noms are in!


We can argue all day long about whether or not these matter much, but this is an Awards site, and these are indeed Awards and so I'm going to talk about them.  If anything, Awards like these help raise awareness for smaller films that most of us would never even hear about had they not gotten recognition from bodies like these, so it's worth listing and commenting on.  Also, with the recent trend in Oscar for incorporating the Independent film (or maybe it is the recent trend in Hollywood of exploiting the Independent film and making it...not so Independent), it is a good idea to see where the attention is going, who is getting the traction and where we can see Oscar dipping their hands.

So let's dish!