Sunday, February 24, 2013


It is that time again and this year is looking very interesting. I know a lot of people think the Oscars is just another evening full of celebrity self-fladulation, and undeserved pretentiousness. We grumble that the awards show is a snooze fest and out of touch with modern audiences. But there are those of us who try to believe in the magic of Oscar night, even if the show isn't perfect.

There are so many things to love about the event, like the red carpet which is always an incredible showcase of designer fashion, the speeches and live performances are always fun. And every now and then we get to witness a host go down in flames. I'm looking at you James Franco.

But, the best part of the Oscars having an opportunity to get a glimpse of the people behind the camera. I have always been more interested in the writers, editors, cinematographers, composers, costume designers and other craftsmen and women involved in the business of film. These behind the scenes players usually give awkwardly endearing, or short and humble speeches that are typically forgotten by morning. But while everyone else focuses on the worst dressed list, I tend to think about all the hard working people who were recognized for their work. That's what I like to believe the Oscars are about, despite all evidence to the contrary.

I really suck at predicting the Academy Award winners. I think I just have a different perspective than those who actually get to vote. I always root for the nominee whom I believe deserves it the most, and that rarely meshes with the Academy's choices. I'm also completely indecisive and can see how multiple films deserve to win. I only get a few predictions right every year, but don't count me out just yet. If I can get 3 predictions right, I will count that as a win!

So, At the risk of humiliating myself... I present -- My 2013 Oscar Predictions:

Visual Effects Nominees: 

The Hobbit: and Unexpected Journey
Life of Pi
The Avengers
Snow White and the Huntsman

Winner: Life of Pi

I'm conflicted about this one but I think this will be Life of Pi's big win for the night. I was really surprised to see Snow White and the Huntsman on this list. But if you look back at my review of this film you'll see that the only thing I praised was the beautiful imagery.

Best Adapted Screenplay Nominees

Argo: Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin
Life of Pi: David Magee
Lincoln: Tony Kusher
Silver Linings Playbook: David O. Russell

Winner: Beasts of the Southern Wild

I think this will be the big award for Beasts of the Southern Wild, or at least I hope it is. I can also see the award going to critic favorites Argo, or Silver Linings Playbook. I think this award will set the stage for many other awards throughout the night. If Beasts of the Southern Wild wins, I think there is a chance the Academy will make more unconventional choices this year.

Best Original Screenplay Nominees:

Amour: Michael Haneke
Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino
Flight: John Gatins
Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal

Winner: Zero Dark Thirty

I can also see this award going to Amour. While I absolutely loved the film, I think the writing in Zero Dark Thirty might just be too controversial and could lose out. Amour with its more subtle themes might appeal more to the Academy. They are such different films, it's hard to know.

Sound Editing Nominees:

Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Winner: Django Unchained

The sound was pretty incredible in Django. But Zero Dark Thirty had amazing sound as well. Especially during the scenes in Bin Laden's compound. The flash bangs, and the chaotic near silence was great. But I can't forget the sound of Django's whip.

Sound Mixing Nominees:

Les Miserables
Life of Pi

Winner: Les Miserables

I think this is a tough one but I think Les Miserables will stand out because it's a musical and so different from the other nominees.

Best Original Song

"Before my Time" - Chasing Ice
"Everybody Needs a Best Friend" - Ted
"Pi's Lullaby" - Life of Pi
"Skyfall" - Skyfall
"Suddenly" - Les Miserables

Winner: Skyfall

Everyone love Adele so...

Production Design Nominees:

Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Life of Pie

Winner: Anna Karenina

I feel like they always give this award to the opulent period pieces. Though I can easily see this award going to Le Mis.

Foreign Language Nominees:

A Royal Affair
War Witch

Winner: Amour

I feel pretty confident that Amour will win, but the Chilean film No has gotten a lot of attention as well.  No's leading man Gale Garcia Bernal is not only incredibly hot, he's also one of the best actors working today. Amour is a little bit to melancholy for my taste, and No has a lot of that revolutionary life to it that makes it more triumphant.

Makeup & Hairstyling Nominees:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables

Winner: Les Miserables

Best Original Score:

Anna Karenina
Life of Pie

Winner: Lincoln

It's John Williams so...

Documentary Nominees:

5 Broken Cameras
The Gatekeepers
How to Survive a Plague
Invisible war
Searching for Sugar Man

Winner: 5 Broken Cameras 

Film Editing Nominees:

Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Winner: Argo

This should go to Zero Dark Thirty, but I feel like Argo will take it.

Cinematography Nominees:

Anna Kerenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi

Winner: Django Unchained

This is my favorite category and I can see this award going to any one of the deserving nominees. I chose Django Unchained because it was my favorite. Though I feel like I have to comment that there were no women nominated in this category this year.

Costume Design Nominees:

Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White and the Huntsman

Winner: Les Miserables

I think it will go to either Le Mis or Anna Karenina, period pieces always take this award.

Best Director Nominees:

Michael Haneke - Amour
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ang Lee - Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg - Lincoln
David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook

Winner: Benh Zeitlin

I really want to see Ben Zeitlin win for Beasts of the Southern Wild because he's young and he gives me hope. I would love to watch this 30 year old guy beat out veterans like Spielberg and Lee. I think it would be a welcome surprise.

Best Supporting Actor Nominees:

Alan Arkin - Argo
Rober De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
Tommy Lee Jones: Lincoln
Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

Winner: Alan Arkin

There are a lot of deserving actors on this list, it was hard to choose. But I think it will be Arkin.

Best Supporting Actress Nominees: 

Amy Adams - The Master
Sally Field - Lincoln
Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Helen Hunt - The Sessions
Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook

Winner: Anne Hathaway

The award could also go to Sally Field, but I think Anne Hathaway has had a lot of success this awards season. I think Hathaway deserves it, she really gave her all.

Animated Film Nominees:

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Wreck it Ralph

Winner: Frankenweenie

While I personally think Brave deserves it, Frankenweeie is so fucking sad, I don't see how it can lose.

Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominees: 

Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts - The Impossible

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence

I'm not sure there is much competition in this category. While I personally think Jessica Chastain gave a better performance in Zero Dark Thirty than Jennifer Lawrence did in Silver Linings Playbook, I can't help but root of Lawrence any way. She's my favorite.

Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominees:

Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day Lewis - Lincoln
Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
Denzel Washington - Flight

Winner: Daniel Day Lewis

I think this one is pretty cut and dry.

Best Picture:

Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Miserables

Winner: Zero Dark Thirty

The truth is, Argo or Lincoln are probably going to win. But I decided to cast my vote for the film I want to win. I loved Zero Dark Thirty, I thought it was as close to a perfect movie as it gets. I also loved Django Unchained. And it would be awesome if Beasts of the Southern Wild won too. It's a hard choice, this was a pretty amazing year for movies.

But there you have it. Tune in later this week to see how many I got right!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trailers For the New Season!

With winter coming to an end and sunshine and warm weather on the horizon, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the highly anticipated films of 2013. Although 2012 film season isn't technically over until the Oscars, I am tired of hearing about Lincoln, Argo and Le Mis and I'm ready to move on.

I think 2013 is going to be an interesting year for movies. We are going to see tons of new installments of beloved fracnhise films, some much anticipated book adaptations, and some new work from some of the best directors.

So here is my list for the 13 films for 2013 list.

I really liked the last Star Trek movie, though I am far from a hardcore Trekki. I have really come to love J.J Abrams. After seeing Super 8 I have been really interested in seeing all of his films. Plus, rumor has it that he will also be directing the first Disney Star Wars movie, so it is important to keep an eye on him. I am not married to original Star Trek story lines so I am completely open to the direction this film will take.

Ok. Now before I begin, I want to say that I fully expect to be horrendously disappointed by this film. But I am hoping to be pleasantly surprised. James Franco has always been a little hit or miss for me. He has does some really good and some really awful films and I have a hard time taking him seriously. But I am willing to set my opinions aside because The Wizard of Oz is a huge part of my life and I am excited to see what an updated interpretation will look like. Plus it will be interesting to see what Sam Rami, with his affinity for horror, does with the material. I find it a bit surprising that Rami is going in this direction, but it also peaks my interest. And I think I speak for a lot of people when I say I am so thankful this film isn't directed by Tim Burton.

Are you surprised to see that Sam Rami is directing this film?

#11: Oblivion

What's not to love about Tom Cruise? While he has certainly lost some of his charm with his long line of crappy films and crazy public antics but I can set that all aside because Oblivion looks amazing. This is an adaptation of the graphic novel by the same name written by Joseph Kosinski. Kosinski wrote the comic, the screenplay and is directing; this movie is his baby. Which is amazing. I expect him to bring a high level of dedication to the film. Also, I don't know if you saw TRON: Legacy, Kosinski's debut, but if you didn't you probably should.

What did you think of TRON? Did it make you want to see more from Josef Kosinski?

I am conflicted by this film. On one hand, I love Johnny Depp, always have. I also love Armie Hammer. Not only is he hot, he has given great performances in The Social Network and J. Edgar. However, the Lone Ranger is directed by Gore Verbinski who has worked with Depp on 6 other features in the past 12 years, including 3 of the 4 Pirates of the Caribbean films. So I expect to see a lot of the same. There has been a little talk about Depp playing Tonto, a character that is viewed by some as personifying negative stereotypes. However, I keep and open mind with this film. It probably wont be great, but that's ok.

Are you excited for the 7th feature film collaboration between Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp?

I am not sure I have to say much about this movie. It's going to be incredible, I have no doubt. It is nearly impossible for Pixar to fail. They have the movies down to a science and are unrivaled in their ability to create beautiful films, with beloved characters that appeal to all audiences, everywhere on the planet.

Monsters Inc. is one of the best Pixar films and has wisely flown under the radar just long enough to get audiences excited for a 2nd installment (which is actually a pre-quel). Pixar is clever. Too clever. Directing his first Pixar feature film is Dan Scanlon, I don't know much about him, but I have very, very high hopes and I know millions of other people do too.

What is your least favorite Pixar movie? Which ones are your favorite? Which one is overrated? Which one is underrate?

(For me it's, Toy story 3, Cars & Finding Nemo, UP, Brave) 

I don't actually know if this is coming out in 2013, and I've had a hard time finding reliable information on it.  This is the best I could do. I have heard that it will be directed by David Fincher which is enough to make it on my list. Fincher is one of my favorite filmmakers and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a classic, the combination of the two has so much potential. I don't know who is going to be in it, and there is a lot still up in the air so I am speaking from a place of pure speculation. I'm excited. You can check out a review I did for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo if you love Fincher as much as I do.

How do you feel about David Fincher's films and which is your favorite? 

Will Ferrel is America's obnoxious but lovable idiot (who is also kind of brilliant). Not everything he does is great, and most of the time he's way over the top, but when he comes out with something we love, we scream for more. Anchorman 2 producers listened to the public and have finally delivered on their promise. We can expect to see many funny actors like Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and Kristen Wigg rounding out the cast, and if they live up to their reputations this film will be a huge comedy success. However, where ever there are inflated expectations there is also soul crushing disappointment.

Anchorman 2, great film or greatest film? Discuss. 

 #6: Iron Man 3

I am a huge fan of the Iron Man movies. I love superhero films, and I love Robert Downey Jr so the third installment of this franchise is something I am looking forward to. What makes me particularly interested in this film is the fact that the franchise is bringing on a new director. The first two Iron Man movies were very successful and surprisingly well crafted. Jon Favreau is a pretty big player in Hollywood and has proven himself as both an actor and director for decades. It will be interesting to see if Kiss Kiss Bang Bang director, Shane Black can surprise us. Unfortunately, characters tend to get a it stale by the third film, and Black has a challenge ahead of him. But I have faith that this film will be awesome, if a bit cheesy. Also, am I the only person who thinks the music in this trailer is incredible?

This is another film that I'm not sure is actually going to come out in 2013. I admit, when the first Kick Ass movie came out, I was resistant to it. Most of that comes from the fact that I'm not a huge fan of Nicholas Cage. However, once I saw it, I fell in love. It was really unexpected with its pulpy themes and violent action. Aaron Johnson, while a working actor for over a decade, sort of came out of no where and he's is actually a pretty good. Kick Ass 2 also stars a personal favorite of mine, Chloe Moretz. She is on my list of rising stars, she's adorable and a badass which is a potent combination. Jim Carrey is also in this film which is an interesting choice. This movie will probably be awesome.

(Sorry, there is no real trailer available yet so we'll have to settle for shitty behind the scenes footage.)

Obviously I had to talk about Emma Watson's new film. As most of you know I love her, she's my favorite. But besides that, The Bling Ring has everything a good story needs, crime, fashion, drugs, young love and fame worship. It is based on real life LA teenagers obsessed with the lifestyle and possessions of the rich and famous. So obsessed they stole roughly $3 million dollars worth of jewelry, clothes and other luxury items from celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom.

I remember this case playing out in the media, the reality show and the horrible Lifetime movie that saturated the media. The whole drama, and the young criminals were fascinating for a few weeks, but unsurprisingly it has all ultimately faded into the archive pages of celebrity gossip websites. But I think the right amount of time has passed and it's the perfect time to make this film.

Sofia Coppla seems to have been heavily influenced by the Vanity Fair article written by Nancy Jo Sales  in 2010. The fact that Coppola is directing has really upped my excitement for this film. To be honest, I haven't always given her the credit she deserves. Coppola is a damn good filmmaker and she makes films that really appeal to me as a human being.  She has proven herself time and time again with gorgeous, complex films and nuanced female characters. I expect a lot of surprises and I'm very interested in her take on the over-indulged teenage mind.

(No trailer available yet so check out an interview Emma Watson did about the film, it's great.)

I'm a Hunger Games fan, so no matter what any one says I'm going to enjoy this film. Jennifer Lawrence is my favorite person in Hollywood right now and I will see any movie she's in. Plus with a cast that includes, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks and Josh Hutcherson you can't help but wonder.

To be honest, I only enjoyed the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy, the second and third lacked complexity and were poorly written. However, this is one of those stories that you have to see through to the end. The first film was pretty good, though I don't think think Gary Ross wast a great choice for director. Francis Lawrence has signed on for the rest of the franchise so it will be interesting to see what he's got.

(No trailer for this film available yet, so just go ahead and watch 11 minutes of Jennifer Lawrence being adorable.) 

I have loved Lars Von Trier since I was 16 years old. I know that Von Trier is a controversial figure both personally and artistically, but his films are simply amazing. The Five Obstructions is my favorite alternative documentary and Dancer in the Dark is one of those films that I refuse to watch because it ruins the following 48 hours of my life. Not many films effect me on such an emotional level.

Von Trier is a risk taker with a strong point of view. He is the type of director that consistently delivers great work. I know that the big news surrounding the film is the fact that Shia LaBeouf is on a tirade against his Hollywood upbringing and engages in un-simulated sex in the film. But that is really neither here nor there. What is exciting about this film is that it has an amazing cast that includes, Stellan Skarsgard, the beautiful Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Willem Dafoe. I will be interested to read reviews of this film once it comes out, I expect a fierce debate.

(No trailer for this, but I included some pictures.)

#1: Elysium

I think Neill Blomkamp really upped the game with his debut film District 9. It was an incredible achievement and vastly underrated. It remains one of my favorite films of all time. When I heard Blomkamp was coming out with a new film I jumped for joy. Elysium will star Matt Damon and Jodie Foster in sci-fi cultural critique set the year 2159 in which the rich live in luxury space stations and the poor are forced to live in the remnants of a destroyed earth. Sharlto Copley will star aside Damon and Foster.  This could be the breakout film of the year and my #1 film for 2013. 

No Trailer, but you can check out the Elysium Cast panel at Comic Con above, it's really good.

So that's it. Those are the 13 films I am looking forward to seeing this year. I think I got all the big ones. Are there any films you can't believe I didn't include? I know I didn't write about Spike Lee adaptation of Chan-wook Park's Oldboy, but I have a feeling I'll be talking about that film a lot this year, so I'll skip it for now.