Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
And by the way, there are dragons in this movie! The creature design in this movie is fantastic, especially for Toothless, the Night Fury that Hiccup takes down but eventually befriends. The friendship isn't something that just happens quickly and naturally as depicted in the Eragon books and Avatar. Trust actually has to be earned between the two. Hiccup earns Toothless' trust by bringing him food and fixing his tail. Toothless earns Hiccups trust by... not killing him. The forbidden friendship is eventually discovered by the rest of his tribe, throwing Hiccup's life into ruin.
It's hard to see this film and not compare it to Avatar, because in almost every way How to Train Your Dragon is better. The film doesn't spend three hours nailing everything down slowly. It gets straight to the point, and doesn't indulge in any of the bad jokes that animated films from Dreamworks have done so frequently in the past in the Shrek and Madagascar franchises. The film's first and foremost job is to deliver an emotionally satisfying, and thrilling story, and it definitely succeeds in doing just that. The story lags a little bit in the middle while Hiccup and Toothless are bonding, but the emotional and comedic payoff of those sequences are worth it.
The voice talent is perfectly cast to fit the characters, with Craig Ferguson and America Ferrera (Ugly Betty) especially standing out. Other actors who wisely lend their voices to the film are Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Kristen Wiig. The technical credits of the film are to be especially praised. John Powell's score serves as a solid backbone for the entire film and rivals the scores of even some Pixar films. The cinematography is especially beautiful, and it's probably the first to use 3D technology to enhanced the visual wonder on screen without completely relying on it. The action in the film is also presents us with one of the most awesome sequences put on the big screen in a while. In fact the last film I can remember delivering action that amazing was Up.
If you can't afford to pay for 3D then I don't see any reason why the film won't be just as affective in 2D, but if you have a choice then you must see it in 3D while it's still in theatres. 3D screens will be held for the film for at least two weeks so use the opportunity to your advantage. Ultimately this film shows what Dreamworks can accomplish when it takes a few cues from its biggest competitor Pixar, and it ranks as probably the best film to hit theatres so far this year.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Also if you are looking for a more intimate film, seek out Greenberg (Directed by Noah Baumbach) which is expanding to 187 theatres this week. But if you're part of the lowest demographic that has no interest in any of those films, I suggest catching Alice in Wonderland in 3D before it is completely evicerated at the box office next week when Clash of the Titans comes in.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
1. Clash of the TitansAfter spending so much time raving about a film that is possibly more deserving of this space than Clash of the Titans, why is the film still here? Because the trailers have been pushing as an awesome action-packed 3D blockbuster, and we've recently been witness to the overwhelming success of 3D (Alice in Wonderland, Avatar). So far I can't find a reason why this film won't be exactly as advertised. It doesn't worry to me that the film may not have depth or much quality, because in an action film that rarely matters. Look at the fact that I put Transformers 2 in my top 10 list of films last year. The thing that matters most in an action film is that it is enjoyable. This film is going to bring quite a bit opening weekend, even at theatres without 3D screens. Expect $90-105 million opening weekend, and then soaring to the area of 300 million without any other 3D films releasing over the following few weeks.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I love 3D films and am all for the slow transition into 3D, but it should probably be a little slower. Obviously 3D is a big selling point, and a reason for people to catch films in the theatres, but it takes a while for theatres to change their screens into 3D screens. They're doing to best they can to match the supply with the demand, but it's just happening too fast. What is your opinion? I want to know what you think.
The next trailer is a drama starring Carey Mulligan (An Education), Pierce Brosnan, Susan Sarandon, and Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) called The Greatest. Basically Johnson's character and Mulligan's are a couple, and Johnson dies. Then it turns out Mulligan is pregnant, and apparently the only one she can turn to is her dead boyfriend's family. I don't understand why, but it's supposed to be sweet. I can see this being a feel good film, perhaps in the same vein as The Blind Side, but I'm cautious about it. It very well could be great, but probably not the greatest. Here's the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xevNnOP5qSw
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
The second reason is far worst. They've offered the title role to Chris Evans. For those who don't already know, Chris Evans played the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four series, and more recently starred in the failed superhero movie Push. I would've been fine with the film if it hadn't been for this news. I hold deep in my heart a passionate hate of Chris Evans, and I hope to god that for whatever reason, he declines the offer. I'd rather have Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra), or whatever guy from Cloverfield who was being considered for the role take it than him. Now that I've spewed my hate over this project, what is your opinion of this venture that is almost more doomed than the voyage of Titanic.
Clash of the Titans in 3D- There hasn't really been much talk about the quality of the footage shown from the film, as there has been talk of the quality of the 3D. Slashfilm described the 3D as "...very unnatural. At times the characters stand out like cardboard cutouts, while other times they appeared to be graphed to a computer generated 3D model, and it just looked odd." I was really looking forward to the film being in 3D, but now I'm not quite sure. However the main conflict is whether the film is any good, and the people who saw the featured clips at Showest failed to do that, so we'll just have to wait for reviews to be released.
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time- The general reaction from people who caught the screening is what could have been expected. The film has nice cinematography, visual effects, some good action, but falls flat when it comes to plot, pacing, and characters. I didn't think that having Mike Newell (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) at the helm would do too much for the picture. I guessed from the trailers that it would be much in the same area as the Pirates of the Caribbean films, except without Johnny Depps charms, and with less awesome affects. In fact, considering the film has to deal with time travel, I bet they'll just end with going back in time to before any of it ever happened.
Toy Story 3- I'm actually hoping that one day a Pixar film comes along that is completely awful, with absolutely no redeeming qualities, because I'm tired of using the phrase "It's a Pixar film" to describe how awesome it is. From what I've heard from ShoWest, that day doesn't seem to be coming any time soon. The film was a very rough cut, and wasn't shown in 3D, but that didn't stop it from leaving its mark on people. It's apparently just as funny and touching as the past Pixar films and that's enough to confirm that it'll have good chances at grabbing a Best Picture nomination.
Due Date- The trailer for the next film by Todd Phillips was described intimately by comingsoon.net as extremely hillarious, and bound to repeat the success of Todds last film, The Hangover. I'd be more frustrated by Phillips not getting straight to making Hangover 2, if this film didn't star both Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. The jokes sound great, and that's not accounting for the delivery by the two great actors. "For instance, when Peter (Downey Jr.) asks Ethan (Galafianakis) why he carries around his father's ashes in a coffee can, he gets a flat response: 'Because he's dead, Peter.'" I can't wait to see how this film turns out.
Inception- After this being shown at ShoWest, I expect that a new trailer for the film will be coming soon. I've gone on and on over the past few days on how great this film will be, and now I'm just waiting to see more of it. Comingsoon describes the imagery as striking, including shots of a city collapsing into the ocean. I can't go on about the footage because I haven't seen it yet, but based on the description I simply have to see it when it comes out.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- The convention closed on a high note with 3-5 minutes of unfinished footage from the final installment of the acclaimed series. The visual effects weren't finished, but that didn't stop the scenes depicted from leaving an impression on people. Scenes depicted include Harry and Ron getting into a fight, giants tearing apart Hogwarts, the quidditch field on fire, the seven potters escaping from the Dursleys, and the confrontation with Voldemort. When Voldemort asks Harry why he still lives, his response is "Because I have something worth fighting for." I'm skeptical of just how good the film is going to be, but descriptions rarely do a film justice. It has to be seen to leave a lasting impression. It also occurs to me that the film (part 1) is exactly 9 months away from release.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
To make the transition to his next project even slower, he's announced that he's going to re-release Titanic in 3D. It's not enough that he decided to make the longest, highest costing chick flick ever made. Now he wants to convert it into 3D in an attempt to make more money off of it. But what would the world be like if it ended there. Answer: Better. Cameron has also decided to release a longer version of Avatar in 3D towards the end of this year. So it's safe to say that James Cameron isn't really taking his recent failure at the academy awards well. What do you think? Are you excited about seeing Titanic and an extended edition of Avatar back on the big screen, or do your interests more align with mine in which case you are drawing out plans for Camerons assassination?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
-Iron Man 2 - This is the only film I have in these nominations that I'm unsure if it should be on this list. Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of the Iron Man, and of Robert Downey Jr. and I can't wait to see the film. The reasons I have it on this list are because it's opening in the same slot that Star Trek opened to last year and that film would've been nominated this year if it weren't for a certain film that I don't care about (The Blind Side), and besides that the two films are tonally very similar. Some people went as far as saying that Iron Man was better than The Dark Knight. They are wrong, but the point is that the first film could've been nominated were there 10 nominations two years ago. If they up the ante on this film then there's little to argue the point that it will probably be in the cards come awards season. -Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - I've always been willing to take a leap of faith for the Harry Potter franchise to be nominated for best picture, but this is different. The series has definitely had its highs (Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire) and its lows (Chamber of Secrets), but Half-Blood Prince gave us a real feel for what the final installment(s) will be like. David Yates has proved himself a quality director, and the absense of Steve Kloves as screenwriter showed negatively in Order of the Phoenix. Add in cinematography by two time Academy Award nominee Eduardo Serra (Girl with a Pearl Earring), and music composed by three time nominee Alexandre Desplat (The Queen, Fantastic Mr. Fox) and we may have reached a peak in quality for the series. I know how unlikely a chance it is, but I just feel that people sometimes fail to recognize just how likely a possibility it very well could be.-Blue Valentine - The biggest film to debut from Sundance last year went on to take two Academy Awards (Precious). The film that left the Sundance film festival this year with the most hype was Blue Valentine. Much like (500) Days of Summer, it is told out of chronological order and it tells the story of a couple whose relationship begins to decay. The one clip released of the film didn't reveal too much of the plot, but it gave us a feel of what the film will be like. It looks to have a tone more in the area of Once than (500) Days of Summer. This is much sadder and less optimistic portrayal of lost love, and I'm looking forward to its release this december.
Friday, March 12, 2010
-The Social Network- The last time David Fincher brought a film to screen it was nominated for 13 awards (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button). For his follow-up he's scaling it down a lot with a film about the creation of one of the most popular social networking sites. Somehow "Facebook: The Movie" doesn't immediately strike one as a film that could get Oscar attention. However, having Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake, two great comedic actors as the leads does make things interesting, and operating off of a script by Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) doesn't hurt either.-True Grit- The Coen Brothers have made it into this category this easily this year with A Serious Man, but now they're back in familiar territory with this western based on the John Wayne film. Their last western won Best Picture (No Country For Old Men), and with Jeff Bridges playing the pivotal role I can see this film being successful not only critically but also at the box office. It's a huge possibility.
-Hereafter- At the beginning of every year a Clint Eastwood film is placed as one of the frontruners, and then when they are at last released at the end of the year they either gain huge acclaim (Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby), or as it has been more recently, they don't (Changeling, Gran Torino, Invictus). I think this film will place in the former category for a few reasons. One of them is Peter Morgan's script, and while I know that you don't need a great script to be nominated for Best Picture (Avatar) it does play a big part. A supernatural thriller is something of a first for Eastwood and I'm interested to see how it plays to an audience. Some people believe that Clint may have lost his touch, but the box office success of Gran Torino disputes that. He's as good as he's ever been. He's just had bad luck with screenplays.
She's Out of My League has also gotten middling reviews, praising the film for its great cast and likable characters, but then condemning it for required raunchy jokes that come along with this type of film and its lack of originality. And then there's the film that you should just avoid entirely, Remember Me. Robert Pattinson doesn't seem to be able to walk away from the Edward Cullen from Twilight type of character, or Summit Entertainment. What is really depressing about the film is apparently the ending. I haven't seen the film, but from what I hear it's one of the worst endings in film history. So at this point, even though I don't think I need to, I'd like to place a big SPOILER ALERT!
At the end of the film, Robert Pattinsons character is seen standing inside the world trade center on the morning of 9/11. It'd be really emotional if it had anything to do with the rest of the story, but it just doesn't. They literally just slammed it on the end. So there's your choices for this weekend. You can go see Alice in Wonderland if you haven't yet, Green Zone, She's Out of My League, or Remember Me. Or you can go home and rent some good film like Up in the Air or Precious. I'm just trying to point you in the right direction.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
So over the first few months of the new year we've heard little seeds of noise saying that he's being the new "Godfather" of the Superman franchise, and that he's starting to get the ball rolling for a third and seemingly final installment of his Batman saga. He now confirms that it is all true and that puts hope in my heart. When asked about David Goyer's proposition for the Superman film, he replied "He basically told me, 'I have this thought about how you would approach Superman. I immediately got it, loved it and thought: That is a way of approaching the story I've never seen before that makes it incredibly exciting. I wanted to get Emma and I involved in shepherding the project right away and getting it to the studio and getting it going in an exciting way."
Does this mean that he's going to have a hand in writing and directing the film? Perhaps, but my guess is probably not. I think he'll be too busy with that Dark Knight follow-up. He comments on it by saying "Each [film] serves to the internal logic of the story. They have nothing to do with each other. Without getting into specifics, the key thing that makes the third film a great possibility for us is that we want to finish our story, and in viewing it as the finishing of a story rather than infinitely blowing up the balloon and expanding the story. We have a great ensemble, that's one of the attractions of doing another film, since we've been having a great time for years."
So yes, he is making that much anticipated next Batman film. With the approach of closing the story, I can't wait to see what they do with it. I'm still not a fan of David Goyer, but Chris Nolan is nearly a complete remedy to the atrocious writer/director. What's your opinion? Are you as excited as I am to see how these films turn out? How high would you say these films chances are?
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I still love what I see of the film. Mickey Rourke looks brilliant as always and I can't wait to see what his role has in store for us. Will it be the sort of performance that earned Heath Ledger and Oscar two years ago? Too difficult to say at this point, but i'm definitely not against the idea. Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer doesn't really seem to me like it will be as huge and complex a villain, if he is a villain at all and not just a corporate douchebag. They didn't feature Scarlett Johansson enough, and I think that the robot soldiers are perhaps a little too evocative of Iron Monger from the last film, but this is still one of the films I'm most looking forward to this summer. Then again it took me five hours to realize that I'm the only one who knows the characters names and significance so this trailer review is pretty meaningless to anyone who hasn't read the comics. Here's the link for the Iron Man 2 trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNQowwwwYa0
Monday, March 8, 2010
One of the biggest shocks of the evening came from neither The White Ribbon or Un Prophete winning Best Foreign Language Film. Instead it went to some Argentinian film that nobody gives a damn about. For me the most upsetting win of the evening was Sandra Bullock for Best Actress. Nothing against the actress, but there were so many better performances this year that it's dissapointing that they chose her. I swear to god, the only reason it won is because of the box office performance of The Blind Side. However that didn't help Avatar out, leaving the evening with only Visual Effects, Cinematography, and Art Direction trophies which were really the only things it actually deserved.
The Hurt Locker was the big winner last night, taking home Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Original Screenplay, Director, and of course Best Picture. As for the show itself, it did a good job maintaining the sense of occasion that was missing from past years. The segments they showed from nominated films were all very enjoyable, and should bring up attendance for some of the lesser known nominees. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were very planned out in their stint as hosts, but seeing as many of the jokes were genuinely funny I'm not complaining at all. The Best Original Score dancers were a particular highlight of the show, as was the opening number by Neil Patrick Harris. I have a hope inside me that he hosts next year, because he is just phenomenal in everything he does.
The show got a little bit slow towards the end, with the friends of the nominees for Best Actor and Actress presenting the awards. At the end however it happened far too quickly. I'm disappointed that Tom Hanks didn't announce the nominees for Best Picture, after they took all that time with the Best Actor and Actress categories. Still for the most part the show was brilliant. Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey prove once again why they are two of the funniest people in hollywood. The horror montage was a welcome surprise, but I'm dismayed that they left out the best horror film of the past year, Drag Me to Hell and somehow found a place for Twilight: New Moon. Nothing was more priceless than the look on James Cameron's face when The Hurt Locker won Best Picture. Overall I have few problems with last nights ceremony. I hope that they do it like this again in the coming years. Congratulations Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, and executive producer Adam Shankman. You pulled it off.
So now that the Oscars are over, what the hell am I going to do with this blog? Ideas?
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds
Best Animated Feature: Up
Best Original Song: The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart
Best Original Screenplay: The Hurt Locker
Best Animated Short Film: Logorama
Best Documentary Short Film: Music by Prudence
Best Live-Action Short Film: The New Tenants
Best Make-Up: Star Trek
Best Adapted Screenplay: Precious: Based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire
Best Supporting Actress: Monique in Precious
Best Art Direction: Avatar
Best Costume Design: The Young Victoria
Best Sound Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Sound Mixing: The Hurt Locker
Best Cinematography: Avatar
Best Original Score: Michael Giacchino for Up
Best Visual Effects: Avatar
Best Documentary Feature: The Cove
Best Film Editing: The Hurt Locker
Best Foreign Language Film: The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina)
Best Actor: Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Well that was a long show and I have only a short time before I have to be awake again so I'll post up my reactions to the winners tomorrow night.
9. Avatar- I'm going to get shouts of hate over this if I don't explain my decision so here it goes: Avatar isn't a great movie. It's fun at some points, and pretty to look at, but the script is cliched and derivetive. You've seen this film before only it was better written. Yes, the visual effects are stunning, but District 9 made more realistic looking aliens on a $35 million budget. Does it have a considerable chance at winning the prize? Unfortunately yes, but I doubt that the academy will really rank this as their favorite film. I guess we'll see.
6. District 9- This is the film that Avatar aspired to be but wasn't. First time director Neill Blomkamp took the alien invasion concept and completely flipped it. The aliens are at our mercy, and discriminated against in a kind of twist on apartheid. Sharlto Copley's performance as Wikus Van Der Merwe ranges from darkly comic to powerfully emotional. It's still very much on the outskirts of the race and doesn't really have a chance, but it deserves the honorable mention. The film may not have gotten the same attention Avatar did, but it certainly has a better chance at wooing the academy voters. I guess we'll see.
5. An Education- This british drama may have had a chance at one point, but not winning the BAFTA award for best picture doesn't look too good for it. It doesn't look to have too much of a chance in its other categories either. Carey Mulligan might win Best Actress, and I still back her up, but the odds are slightly against it. It's almost one of the top contenders but it just didn't make the cut. Sad to say it'll probably go home empty handed. I guess we'll see.
4. Inglourious Basterds- I've made my point clear on this film by now. It has quite a bit of potential and it may indeed walk off with a few awards tonight. The best picture race however is the pivotal category, and in order to win it would have to be better than all, or most of the other films this year and it just isn't. It's still a gut-wrenchingly intense film, and one of Quentin Tarantinos few real masterpieces, so it may still win. I guess we'll see.3. Up in the Air- This film hit the height of its hype early on. In late October after it debuted in Toronto critics were all talking about its chances and how it was the film to beat at this year's competition. Then time passed, and so did the buzz. The film just stopped winning guild and critics awards. Somewhere along the line it just vanished. The film didn't display the legs that The Hurt Locker did to make it all the way through the awards circuit. Jason Reitman will just have to wait for something else to come along and maybe then he'll get his trophy. I guess we'll see.2. Precious: Based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire- Today I have belonged completely to this film. While talking about all of the films nominated, and even while watching a few of them, I haven't been able to get this film out of my head. It's really something amazing, and I can't stop thinking about the characters and wishing that Sapphire had made a series of books about these characters. For me this feels like the film with the greatest chance at upsetting the current favorite in the category. I wouldn't be sad at all if it came to pass that this film took it all. I guess we'll see.1. The Hurt Locker- Nearly every other person has said this, so it just seems foolish not to say it myself. The Hurt Locker had the best chance of winning it all eight months ago, and it still does. Despite the odds this little film faced, it has kept its loyal voters over that long period to come to this night. There are people who think that Avatar might walk away with the award, but I just can't think of anybody who would list that film as their favorite. The Hurt Locker was powerful enough to remind people I know who served in wars in the past of some of the bad memories. That is how realistic the film is, and at this point in our history I think that's what Academy voters are going to go with. I guess we'll see.
Having just seen Precious I may be in too much a state of heightened love for the film to make a logical opinion of Lee Daniels' chances. However, I think I can come down from that to say that Kathryn Bigelow should take this award for her work on The Hurt Locker. It's interested to see her display how much knowledge she has of how to create an intense, gritty action sequence that goes for a realistic approach rather than a frenetic execution like that of the action from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Any other outcome tonight and I will publicly defame the Academy as sexist.
I can't say too much about the Foreign Film category because I haven't seen any of them, but from what I know it's a battle between The White Ribbon and Un Prophete. I personally think Un Prophete has a better chance tonight, but I won't be surprised if The White Ribbon comes out the victor. Expect my analysis of the Best Picture nominees by 2 this afternoon.
Precious: Based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire is about Claireece Precious Jones (Portrayed by Gabourey Sidibe), an overweight, illiterate, and abused african-american girl who is pregnant for the second time by her father. She has big dreams like any teenage girl, but is constantly told by her endlessly abusive mother, Mary Jones (played by Monique) that she is worthless, and meaningless. Through the help of a teacher at an alternative school (Paula Patton), her fellow classmates, and a social worker (Mariah Carey) she starts down a road to improving her life for herself and her children.
Precious herself is a fascinating person, who despite the hardships of life tries to look on the brighter side. Arguably the best visual motif in the film is of the title character looking in the mirror at a skinny, blonde, white version of herself. It's one of the saddest moments in the film, and it's the moment you really start to get what kind of person she is. She looks in the mirror at the beauty she wishes she could have, and as the film moves forward that vision washes away until by the end she sees the beauty in herself.
The acting in the film is of an extremely high class. There wasn't a moment in the film in which I thought that the characters weren't real. Gabourey Sidibe makes you fall into an unconditional love with Precious that you usually reserve to your best friends and family members. Mariah Carey takes off the makeup and more than shows her prowess as an actress. As for Monique's performance, it really is all that it's been hyped up to be. She puts up enough raw emotion in the final scene to halfway make you forgive half the horrible things she's done. Mary Jones is ultimately not a villain. She's a flawed person; a victim of circumstance and she doesn't deal with it very well. Every way of man is right in his own eyes, and in the final scene, though we may not agree with her, she provides the honest reason why she did what she did. My Grade for this film is A.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Colin Firth came into the race in November and ground out enough buzz for his role in A Single Man to earn a BAFTA award in his home country of the United Kingdom. The most recent actor to get in on the race was Jeff Bridges who did a great job in his performance from the movie Crazy Heart. There's only one thing that lingers in my mind that would be a significant reason for him not to win. His role in the film was really similar to Mickey Rourke's in last year's The Wrestler. However that hasn't stopped him yet, and I believe that sunday he will recieve his long deserved Oscar statue for his great body of work.
The Best Actress race took a different road because it went a kind of downward direction. Helen Mirren (The Last Station) never had a chance, I'm sorry to say. Meryl Streep got a minimal amount of buzz in august when Julie and Julia came out to much acclaim, and since then it has slowly been gaining momentum. In that time the category was being dominated by two fresh faces, Carey Mulligan from An Education and Gabourey Sidibe from Precious. They were both neck and neck for quite some time, and still would be if it hadn't been for one unforseeable wild card.
Sandra Bullock came into the race late with her performance from The Blind Side and she gained buzz quickly. It frankly doesn't matter that her performance pales in comparison to the rest. Sandra Bullock is the Avatar of the Best Actress race. She's not truly deserving of the award for this role and there are people who have done better, but she propelled a film past the $200 million mark based purely on her own star power. It's been a good year for her, aside from her quick stint in All About Steve. But I'm going to side with Carey Mulligan on this one. I think she has a shot, and am willing to put myself out there for her. I'll be back later tonight with my analysis of the Best Director race and my predictions on Best Foreign Film.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Stanley Tucci might have a considerable shot for his tense portrayal as the town rapist, if it hadn't been in such a bad movie (The Lovely Bones). There's really no argument to the matter that Christoph Waltz will take the award for his amazing performance as Hans Landa, the endlessly intelligent Nazy colonel who works his way into all five chapters of Inglourious Basterds. The film survives without him on screen, which is a testament to Quentin Tarantino's prowess as a filmmaker. But it's Waltz's dead on accuracy of each line of dialogue that makes you love his character.
In the supporting actress race, Up in the Air has two nominations. Neither of them are going to win. Don't get me wrong. I love Vera Farmiga's sexy love girlfriend, and I'm glad that Anna Kendrick was able to claw her way out of becoming just another girl in the Twilight franchise. I also love Maggie Gylenhaal in Crazy Heart, despite the fact that there wasn't a single time that I felt that the relationship wasn't awkward and wierd. As for Penelope Cruz, if it was for a character in any movie other than Nine then I'd say yes. They all fail in comparison to Mo'nique's performance as the abusive mother in Precious. I haven't seen it yet, but as soon as I do I'll give you details.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The film I believe has the best chance is Inglourious Basterds. The Hurt Locker is pretty inventive and all, but Tarantino's script is so exact and meticulous. Where other writers would give simple instructions, Quentin adds his own emotionally invested touch. He needs to know how it's happening and what affect it has. His knack for knowing what works on an audience in a packed theatre puts him ahead of Mark Boal's Hurt Locker script.
Monday, March 1, 2010
District 9 (Nominated for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Visual Effects, and Film Editing)- Avatar's surprise surgence in the past few months may have stolen recognition away from this film, but it's still by far the best science fiction film of the year. One of the striking aspects of the genre is originality, and this film delivers that in a swift gritty runtime of less than two hours.
A Serious Man (Nominated for Best Picture, and Original Screenplay)- The notorious jew film that's snuck into nearly every big awards show, the Coen Brothers' new film showed what they can do when they throw caution to the wind and tell a good story without fear of being judged on their risky, but hillarious screenplay.
Coraline (Nominated for Best Animated Feature)- Before Avatar swept the 3D market with its jump off the screen visuals, there was this humble little stop-motion film that spread the (as some percieve it) gimmick into new areas. Without being in your face, Coraline was able to add depth to an equally deep and haunting story that you could only expect from a master storyteller like Neil Gaiman.
In The Loop (Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay)- We've always had an open place in our hearts for the british sense of humor and this movie is full of it. Some of the most hillarious lines of dialogue of the year come from this clever little film that didn't get a huge theatrical release, but that didn't stop it from siezing a spot in the Oscar race.
Honorable Mention: Ponyo- Hayao Miyazaki is one of the greatest cinematic artists of the current age. Even his most recent and as some believe it his worst film stands miles higher than most of the other cliche's globs in the film market. It was regrettably snubbed for the Animated Feature race, which is a shame. I highly recommend this film for it's whimsical, and underlyingly dark take on the classic Little Mermaid story.