25 January 2011

The "Casual" Oscars

Also announced, The Independent Spirit Award nominations are out. The show airs on IFC the Saturday before the Oscars (that's 2/26) and is always a lot of fun and kooky. This years host, Joe McHale, should prove the same.

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Kids Are All Right
Winter's Bone

It could go almost any way here... This is the best bet for Black Swan, though The Kids Are All Right could also take it.

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Debra Granik, Winter's Bone
John Cameron Mitchell, Rabbit Hole

Another tough call. This is why I love the Spirit Awards! I would love to see Aronofsky take it here.

Everything Strange and New
Get Low
The Last Exorcism
Night Catches Us
Tiny Furniture

More great nominees. I like Get Low for this, but I also think it could be Tiny Furniture. That movie got a lot of really good press and is very much in keeping with the vein of the awards- low budget, no names, character driven. Wouldn't it be hilarious if The Last Exorcism won?

Daddy Longlegs
The Exploding Girl
Lovers of Hate

I like The Exploding Girl or Daddy Longlegs. The Cassavetes Award goes to a film with a budget of less than $500,000. This award is always exciting as it represents the true face of Independent cinema.

The Kids are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg
Winter's Bone, Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini
Please Give, Nicole Holofcener
Rabbit Hole, David Lindsay-Abaire
Life During Wartime, Todd Solondz

The Kids Are All Right hands down. Look for Please Give to upset.

Obselidia, Diane Bell
Tiny Furniture, Lena Dunham
Lovely, Still, Nik Fackler
Jack Goes Boating, Robert Glaudini
Monogamy, Dana Adam Shapiro, Evan M. Wiener

I haven't seen all of these, but I like the idea behind Tiny Furniture best.

Annette Bening, The Kids are All Right
Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawerence, Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman, Blac Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

With 6 nominees in this category, it is going to be a close call. Portman could sweep every award show, but this is the format for Williams or Lawerence to upset. I love that Greta Gerwig was nominated, she is amazing in that movie; I just hated that movie.

Ronald Bronstein, Daddy Longlegs
Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole
James Franco, 127 Hours
John C. Reilly, Cyrus
Ben Stiller, Greenberg

Here is where Franco could win something but he's up against strong indie favorites Eckhart and Reilly. Stiller could steal it in his un-characteristic turn as a malcontent asshole.

Ashley Bell, The Last Exorcism
Dale Dickey, Winter's Bone
Allison Janney, Life During Wartime
Daphne Rubin-Vega, Jack Goes Boating
Naomi Watts, Mother and Child

Only the Globes have love for Mila Kunis. It's just as well, she wouldn't stand a chance here either. Ashley Bell is brilliant in Exorcism, simply the best thing about that movie. I would love to see some love for Dickey. She seems to have been in everything and is a talented character actor. Watts will probably get it though.

Bill Murray, Get Low
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Samuel L. Jackson, Mother and Child
John Ortiz, Jack Goes Boating
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

This one is tough. I always want Bill Murray to win everything so I'll probably put my money there. I will be super stoked if Hawkes wins it as I love him, or Ruffalo. He did an amazing job straddling the line between like and disgust from the audience.

The King's Speech
Mademoiselle Chambon
Of Gods and Men
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

The King's Speech may lose out due to its heavy Oscar nominations.

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Thunder Soul

Here's where Exit Through the Gift Shop could walk away with it. Finger's crossed!

Black Swan
Never Let Me Go
Tiny Furniture
Winter's Bone

I think I'm one of few people who loved Never Let Me Go. That being said, regardless of how you felt about the movie as a whole; the cinematography was brilliant. Black Swan could win as well.

Please Give

And The Nominee Is...

The Academy announced it's list of Oscar nominations early this morning. I wait all year for the Oscars. It's been a family tradition to sit around, nosh on nibbly bits, and yell in shock and excitement as they name the winners. Needless to say, it's been on my calendar for months! Below are all the nominees (best of luck to all!) as well as my predictions. Who do you think will win? Any major snubs?


Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

No real surprises here. True Grit missed out on the Globes, but everyone agreed it would make the list here. I'm going to have to pick The Social Network to win. As much as I hate to think it, there doesn't seem to be any other logical choice. I'll hold final judgement for when the Producers and Directors Guild's name their winners. I'm still crossing my fingers for Inception! I also have to say, this year should have been the debut of the 10 nomination list. Look at all these really great films!

Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David O. Russell, The Fighter
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
David Fincher, The Social Network
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit

This was going to be a tough race for a nomination and I'm surprised Christopher Nolan missed the ticket until I remember he always misses. The best bet here is David Fincher and it's well deserved for a great film and equally distinguished career. The upset may be Aronofsky, but the Academy still skews older so it's unlikely.

Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours

Julia Roberts campaigning paid off and Javier Bardem won a nomination. Good for him. I haven't seen the picture yet, but I hear he is amazing. For me, it's between Colin Firth (already one up with the Globe) and Jeff Bridges (although he won last year, and the Academy doesn't award back to back that often). The surprise upset could be Franco who was superb and was on screen for the duration of his one man show.

Anette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

This is Portman's to lose really, and she certainly deserves to win it!

Christian Bale, The Fighter
John Hawks, Winter’s Bone
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right

A few surprises here. What's up John Hawks! I just loved him in Deadwood and You, Me, and Everyone We Know. He must have pushed out Andrew Garfield which is really too bad but he's young and has the opportunity to be back on this list in the future. My vote, and yours if you're smart, is for Bale.

Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Jackie Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Newcomer Hailee Steinfeld edged out Mila Kunis in one of the best decisions the Academy made this year. If you haven't seen True Grit go now! She is a knockout. Logic says Leo to win and I agree with that, though Steinfeld or Bonham Carter could upset.

127 Hours (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing), Screenplay by Aaron Sorkin
Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
True Grit (Paramount), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Winter’s Bone (Roadside Attractions), Adapted for the screen by Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini

If Aaron Sorkin doesn't win, something is wrong.

Another Year (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Mike Leigh
The Fighter (Paramount), Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson
Inception (Warner Bros.), Written by Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features), Written by Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Seidler

This is always a tough category to call.... I'd love to see Inception win, but I fear I will become a broken record. That script is just so genius! This may be where The Kids Are All Right gets some love though.

In a Better World
Outside the Law

In a Better World won the Globe so I pick it here as well. I'd love to see Biutiful win as well.

How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 or bust.

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Matthew Libatique
Inception (Warner Bros.) Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Danny Cohen
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (Paramount) Roger Deakins

It's hard to think that Inception won't sweep the technical awards, and this is their first chance. So many of the effects where done in camera and the composition of shots is almost as important as the script or the acting for the film to have worked so well. Deakins is a legend and could upset, but I cross my fingers that is not the case.

Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) Andrew Weisblum
The Fighter (Paramount( Pamela Martin
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Tariq Anwar
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Jon Harris
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

I'm kind of surprised Inception was not named here, but what are you gonna do? I vote for The Social Network to win. Really, as long as 127 Hours doesn't I really don't care. The cuts in that movie were distracting!

Exit through the Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz A Paranoid Pictures Production
Gasland Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic A Gasland Production
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs A Representational Pictures Production
Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger An Outpost Films Production
Waste Land Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley (Arthouse Films) An Almega Projects Production

Tough call.... How awesome would it be if Exit Through the Gift Shop won? Otherwise, I vote Restrepo.

How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) John Powell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) A.R. Rahman
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Hans Zimmer made a haunting score for Inception, but I'm a bit surprised to see it nominated. While almost unrecognizable, he was very open about his use of pre-recorded music (namely Edith Piaf) that we wove into the score, altered, slowed down, or sampled. The Academy has looked down on this sort of thing in the past and are likely to do so again. Still, the 16 year old in me is freaking out at the thought that Trent Reznor could win an Oscar!

"Coming Home" from Country Strong (Sony Pictures Releasing (Screen Gems)) Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
"I See the Light" from Tangled (Walt Disney) Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
"If I Rise" from 127 Hours (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
"We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

I think I've the only person without a hard on for A.R. Rahman. Thank god he won last year so I'm not so worried. I will, however, be taking a bathroom break during the performance of this song. What does Indian/Bollywood music have to do with being stuck in a crevice, except that I would rather die there then have to listen to any more of it out of context? Globe winner Burlesque wasn't even nominated, so the field is wide open. I vote Randy Newman. Can you believe he's only won one Oscar?

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
Hereafter (Warner Bros.) Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
Inception (Warner Bros.) Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
Iron Man 2 (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, Distributed by Paramount) Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Hmmmm..... How high brow will the Academy be? I think it's between Inception and Harry Potter. Alice could have made it, but anything in 3D automatically loses in my book.

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney), Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Warner Bros.), Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
Inception (Warner Bros.), Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)/span>
The King’s Speech (Paramount), Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)
True Grit (Paramount), Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

This is a tough one. The Academy tends to award this prize to period pieces, so The King's Speech and True Grit are the forerunners here. It would be neat to see Inception win this as well (am I beginning to sound like a broken record yet?). Again, those sets where just fantastic!

Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) Colleen Atwood
I Am Love (Magnolia Pictures) Antonella Cannarozzi
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) Jenny Beavan
The Tempest (Miramax) Sandy Powell
True Grit (Paramount) Mary Zophres

Lot's of good nominees here and past winners. I love Colleen Atwood always, and Sandy Powell is pretty spectacular as well. She just won a year ago, so this may be too soon for her to win again. Alice in Wonderland was ALL about the costumes though, so I hope it's Atwood. Look for Beavan to upset.
Barney's Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman

Off the top of my head, it seems like FX make-up rarely wins this award. Maybe I'm senile. So, I pick Barney's Vision to win. Any make-up that convinces us that Paul Giamatti could get wit Minnie Driver, Rachel LeFevre, and Rosamund Pike deserves to win.

Toy Story 3
Tron: Legacy
True Grit

These next two categories always seem to confuse people. Basically, Sound Editing is all about getting the final mix of sound, dialogue, foley (FX), etc, ready for the final mix. This includes recording additional dialogue (ADR) and background. Tron: Legacy and Inception are my front runners. Both had multiple tracks of music, dialogue, and FX to master.

The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Sound Mixing involves the process by which multiple tracks (for example, several parts of dialogue recorded both during the shoot and after, i.e. ADR) into one track. The levels must be made perfect so there is no discrepancy. This is the final result of all the sounds layered to create what we hear in the theatre. Again, I pick Inception though True Grit could also win here.

For the nominees in the short film and documentary categories, please seethe Academy Awards official site here.

19 January 2011

67th Golden Globes: The Ricky Gervais Show

The downside to having the two days after the Golden Globes off is that I'm slow to the party on my review of everything that happened. That being said, the recovery time was well warranted and welcome!

This may have been the worst year for my predictions in history. I usually average about 90% on the Globes, but this year it was more like 64%. Damned TV shows ruining my average!

We had a great time at my friends house with food galore and lots of cute party touches, like a red carpet into the house and beautiful color ballots. We noshed on guacamole, black bean dip, mini quiche, cheese tray (I'm still dreaming of Drunken Goat), chips, cup cakes, and red velvet cake. Oh, there were some nice looking pigs in a blanket but of course I avoided those. Lots of champagne too!

"Johnny Depp showered! And Robert Pattinson! The world's gone topsy turvey!"- me

The best part of any awards show may be the red carpet. There were a lot of misses in a sea of hits:

The Best:

Seacrest: Did you come by yourself?
Corey Monteith: Yep, by myself.
party goer: Mark it!
side note: "Mark it" is what you yell anytime something unintentionally sounds dirty or perverse.

The Worst:

The Meh:

"I like how that thing under her name is her nickname"- Referring to Nicole Kidman "Rabbit Hole"

Okay, now that that's out of the way let's talk about the actual show.

* I thought Ricky Gervais was hilarious! Way to take the piss on such a big night. While it may have been in poor taste to talk smack about "The Tourist" in front of both its stars, it doesn't make what he said any less true. I also have to agree with Josh Wolf on "Chelsea Lately" regarding Robert Downey Jr calling out Gervais as being mean spirited: You're going to follow that with a list of how you have or would like to bang the list of best actress nominees? It was funny, but not any less controversial. It's time to loosen up Hollywood!

* Bill Nighy + The Science Guy = The President of HFPA

* Robert DeNiro's speech- Is it racist?

* I did pretty well on the movie awards. I loved Natalie Portman's speech. It was the most personal thing I've ever heard her say. We saw her parents for what I believe is the first time and she totally embarrassed her fiance! ("You might recognize him from the movie where they ask him if he would want to sleep with me and he's like, No. Well, he totally does want to sleep with me!") It was cute and unexpected. Annette Bening came off like the pompous ass we believe her to be and Paul Giamatti was funny.I guess this means I have to see "Barney's Vision" now. Crap.

* Melissa Leo may have had the best speech were she references "those few hours we spent in the Maritime Hotel..." with the director, Or, at least I think that was who she was referencing, I didn't write that part down! Grrr! Second best speech of the night goes to Chris Colfer and his dedication of his award to the fans who tell him that "Glee" has helped him in their life and that bullying is never the answer. It was really touching.

* I couldn't believe how wrong I was as far as TV awards! The Globes really strayed from the Emmy's this year. Usually, there is more overlap. I was so excited for "Boardwalk Empire" and Steve Buscemi (totally called it). That show is amazing. Maybe next year Michael Pitt will get some love. I couldn't believe Kathy Sagal won for "Sons of Anarchy"! Not because she isn't brilliant, she is, but because she never wins. In fact, I think this is her first nomination for the show. Go girl! "Glee" beats out "Modern Family" which I probably would have called if I remembered we're talking about the foreign press, and "Carlos" beat everybody for best mini-series. I heard it was good, but I don't get the Sundance Channel and it's fraking long.

* Tent Reznor wins a Golden Globe and becomes the front runner for the Oscar. It's like I've died and gone back to 1998!

* "The Social Network" beats out "Inception" and I feel horribly for Christopher Nolan. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. It's like it's 1995 all over again. Facebook= "Forrest Gump" and "Inception" = "Pulp Fiction". This was one of the toughest yeas in the Best Picture Drama category. Still, I feel the best movie should be the one you are still thinking about, still talking about, want to see again and again. I really liked "The Social Network", but I don't need to see it again right now. I'd like to watch the special features maybe. "Inception", however, is a film I couldn't wait to see again, to talk to my friends about, to watch the bonus features. It took over my mind for several weeks. It has haunted me.

What did you think about the Golden Globes?

15 January 2011

The Countdown Begins

The Golden Globes are tomorrow and I cannot wait! I have my ballot all filled out and ready to go. Now, all I'm missing is something yummy to take to our 2nd Annual GG Watching Party. There tends to be an abundance of cheese at these things and I'm always looking for something different and creative to bring. My only stipulation this time is that I don't really want to have to cook. Last year I made these delicious open faced sandwich's with goat cheese, tomato, and arugula drizzled with a honey balsamic. I could have rubbed them over my body they were so good! This year, I need something that's easily low maintenance.

What are your favorite get together snacks?

PS- Who do you think is going to win Best Picture Drama and Comedy?? I'm putting money on "The Social Network" even though I think "Inception" should win and "The Kids Are Alright".

11 January 2011

The Cape Lags

How do you make a show about a would be superhero completely and utterly boring? How do you turn off the key demographic of 10-16 year old boys? Just ask the creative minds behind NBC's new drama "The Cape". What should be a fun and adventurous show about a framed cop out for vigilante justice is instead a big snooze fest.

David Lyons was a real charmer on "er", but here he just looks bored and desperate. As good cop turned scape goat Vince Faraday, he should radiate charm and wit. The signature one liner's that are so popular with comic book crime fighters feel stale and over worked. Maybe it's the accent. Fan boy goddess Summer Glau (TVs "Firefly") is once again given nothing to do with or for her powerful fan base. Her Orwell, a mysterious wunderkind, is a talking head on a screen, sometimes literally, who rolls in to save Faraday's ass when he gets in over his head (which seems to be about every 10  minutes of film). I love her, but I'm tired of 90 lb women beating the crap out of guys three times their size and never getting injured. Meanwhile, out hero is cut, shot at, poisoned, and bruised. Come on!

The plot is also a bit hackneyed and stale. Faraday is a good man with dark secrets who is framed by evil mastermind Chess (James Frain, "True Blood", "Elizabeth") and presumed dead. Chess is actually Peter Fleming, the saviour of the city and the man who privatized it's security and police force. What could he want I wonder... Instead, he has gone into hiding with a group of bank robbing circus performers. For real. There, he learns about justice and crime fighting from Max Malini (Keith David, he's in everything). He takes his cues from the comic book hero he secretly reads to his son every night, the Cape. Even our hero's inspiration is uninspired! The magical cape given to him from Malini comes complete with the ability to grab and throw objects, para glide, and look cool when he uses a smoke bomb to "disappear" from the room. It's a cool idea, but the budget is not there on TV to make it really work. Basically, he's Batman without the money or butler.

I want to make a plea to anyone and everyone who is thinking about or working on a comic book show or movie- Watch other successful comic book shows and movies! I understand that Christopher Nolan's interpretation of "Batman" was dark, brooding, and a bit slow and "talkie"; but this is an exception to the rule, not the rule. We want to see the evolution of our hero of course, but we also want to see him be a hero! We want action and fights. We want a clear distinction between good and evil. We want it to make some sense.

You can check out the premiere here if you missed it, but I would just save your breath and two hours of your life.

05 January 2011

Aaah! Zombies!!

**** (4.5 stars)

AKA "Wasting Away" is one of the best zombie/horror/comedy movies I have seen in a long time. The perfect blend of blood, brains, catchy one-liners, and decent plot really set this movie apart. I would love to have a mini-movie marathon with this, "Shaun of the Dead" and "Grindhouse: Planet Terror". It would be epic!

New Year's was an interesting occasion this year and thankfully I had this movie to get the party started. A planned cab strike meant ample time for a movie while waiting. I mean, what's a girl to do but watch a zombie movie and drink a bottle of champagne (with a little help of course)?

Matthew and Sean Kohnen suffer no loss of the imagination; just when you thought it was impossible to attack the zombie genre from a new angle. You have the typical (a group of 20-something hang abouts) with the unusual (they're all zombies). "Aaah Zombies" asks the question, "What's it really like to be a zombie?"

Tim (Michael Grant Terry, TVs "Bones") works at the local bowling alley with dreams of middle management. He's in love with his co-worker and best friend Cindy (Betsy Beutler, TVs "Scrubs" after it went downhill) but is afraid to tell her. His polar opposite and other best friend Mike (Matthew Davis, TVs "The Vampire Diaries") is loud, crude, funny, and self proclaimed ladies man. His ex, Vanessa (Julianna Robinson) dreams of becoming a lawyer and leaving all the juvenile antics behind. Meanwhile, on a secret government base (there's always one of those), a tragic science experiment results in the patients becoming zombies and they must dump the chemical compound and quick. In a twist of fate, one of the barrels rolls off the truck and is mistaken for a beer keg at the bowling alley. Best idea ever- Beer flavored ice cream. Unfortunately, the beer is actually poison and everyone dies and becomes a zombie. After they've scarfed the dessert, the picture turns from black and white to color and our gang of misfits is on their way. Everything they seem appears normal, though slightly sped up. What the world actually sees, and in black and white no less, is a group of raving slacker zombies. Problem is, they don't think they're the ones infected and they must find a cure for all their friends and family. With the help of Nick Steel (Colby French, the man's been in everything!), retired military, they begin to battle the 'dark" forces at play. Oh, and it's seriously funny.

All I kept thinking was, "I hope we get to see what these jokers look like when they think they're being cool and romantic. I want to see some zombie kissing!" Cut to black and white and what they think is a friendly wave or passionate kiss is actually awkward and a bit disgusting.

I find myself not wanting to say too much about this film. Not that there's much to give away or that you won't predict much of it, you will; instead I feel like it should be experienced with the same trepidation that I felt watching it. After "Mad Cowgirl" was an utter disappointment, I prayed that this movie would not let me down and ruin the start of my New Years Eve celebrations. I never really wondered before if zombies had thoughts, I just assumed they didn't, or if they could be anything more than mindless wanderers out for brains.

"Aaah! Zombies!!" is yet another great example of what low budget film making can and should be. I can't wait to see what's next.

PS- I find it's best, when speaking to someone about this movie, to really use the exclamation points in the title to their fullest effect: Aaah! ZOMBIES!! Really shout that last bit out.