Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2013


Since it's the last day of 2012, here are my most anticipated films of 2013. Thanks for a great year, readers!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Django Unchained (2012)


Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Produced by Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, and Pilar Savone
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L Jackson, Walter Goggins, Dennis Christopher, James Remar, Michael Parks, and Don Johnson

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Screenplays: 1960s

Best Adapted Screenplay:

1960: Rocco and His Brothers (Luchino Visconti, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, Vasco Pratolini, Pasquale Festa Campanile, Massimo Franciosa, and Enrico Medioli)
Oscar winner: Elmer Gantry (Richard Brooks)
Was this nominated?: No

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 10 Older Films I Saw in 2012

One of the many Bergman films I saw this year.

A lot of bloggers are doing posts like this, so I thought I'd post mine. Any film released before 2012 qualifies, but I don't have a single film from this century on my list.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Les Misérables (2012)

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean.

Directed by Tom Hooper
Produced by Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh
Written by William Nicholson, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer (screenplay); Victor Hugo (novel)
Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!


Unfortunately, I've been too busy to participate in Diana's wonderful Christmas List blogathon, so I just wanted to quickly wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays, everybody! :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 Foreign Language Film Oscar Shortlist

France's entry makes the cut.

In the latest Academy Award news, the Foreign Language Film category has been reduced to nine eligible films. Four films from my predicted lineup made the cut, with Australia's Lore being left off.

The eligible films are:

     Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director;
     Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director;
     Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director;
     Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director;
     France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
     Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director;
     Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
     Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director;
     Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Best Screenplays: 1950s

Best Adapted Screenplay:

1950: All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
Oscar winner: All About Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2012


This is an off-topic post, but I wanted to put my list on here for archival purposes. If you're interested, check out my favorites after the cut.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

85th Oscar Wishlist


The Oscar ballots are out now, so here are some wishes I have for the nominations in January.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oscar Oddity #6: The Split of 1951

An American in Paris (left) tied A Place in the Sun (right) in '51.

Whenever a Best Picture winner receives five or more awards in a given year, other Best Picture nominees (or even just other nominees) from that year typically win four or less awards. For example, The Hurt Locker (2009) won six awards, including Best Picture, and Avatar (2009) only won three. 

However, 1951 holds the distinction of being the only 6/6 split, which is also the largest one, between two Best Picture frontrunners: An American in Paris and A Place in the Sun. The former film walked away with Best Picture, Best Story and Screenplay, Best Art Direction (Color), Best Cinematography (Color), Best Costume Design (Color), and Best Musical Score. Meanwhile, the latter won awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography (B&W), Best Costume Design (B&W), Best Film Editing, and Best Dramatic/Comedy Score. Obviously the separate categories for black-and-white and color films helped their tallies, but this stat remains a unique occurrence that will probably never happen again.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Martin Freeman as young Bilbo Baggins.

Directed by Peter Jackson
Produced by Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner, Peter Jackson, & Fran Walsh
Written by Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, & Fran Walsh
Starring Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, James Nesbitt, Ken Stott, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Elijah Wood, & Andy Serkis

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 Makeup Oscar Finalists Announced

Cloud Atlas snubbed.

AMPAS has released its 7 contenders for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Notable snubs include Cloud Atlas and Holy Motors. Oh well. The beat goes on.

“Hitchcock”
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
“Les Misérables”
“Lincoln”
“Looper”
“Men in Black 3”
“Snow White and the Huntsman”

282 Films Eligible for 2012 Oscars

Eligible? Yes. Nomination? No way.

In case you missed it, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its list of eligible feature films. Theoretically, any of them could be nominated. Take a look after the cut. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Best Screenplays: 1940s

Best Adapted Screenplay:

1940: The Philadelphia Story (Donald Ogden Stewart)
Oscar winner: The Philadelphia Story (Donald Ogden Stewart)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

2013 Blind Spot Series


Ryan McNeil at The Matinee is doing his second "Blind Spot Series" and has invited other bloggers to join him.

In Ryan's words, joining this series requires you to "cull together a list of “Blind Spot” films…movies that we as movie enthusiasts likely should have seen by now, but haven’t for one reason or another. After narrowing the list down to a truly manageable twelve titles, the goal would be to watch all twelve over the course of the next year, and to write one’s thoughts afterwards."

So, I'll be doing just that: seeing one of these films a month for twelve months. As far as the list is concerned, I included at least one film from every decade dating back to the 1920s, and I tried to pick films from different genres and countries. Have a look after the cut.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Contenders for 2012 Music Oscars Revealed

Adele is officially ELIGIBLE for the Oscar.

It's that time of year. AMPAS has announced the lists of eligible films for its music categories. 104 films are eligible for Best Original Score. All of my predictions made the list. (Press release) Also, 75 songs are eligible for Best Original Song. "Who Were We?" from Holy Motors didn't make the cut, but the rest of my predictions did. (Press release)

See both lists after the cut.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Making the Case for Cloud Atlas


Stevee at Cinematic Paradox has started a blogathon on films that are being overlooked this awards season, or films that won't be nominated for Oscars they deserve. The subject, in her own words, is: "Making a Case for Movies that Probably Won't Get Any Awards Recognition this year". So, let's jump in.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Best Screenplays: 1930s

Note: The Academy's screenplay categories were different in the 1930s. For instance, there was only one writing category at the 1929/1930 ceremony. Also, the Adapted Screenplay winners credited below are actually from the Best Screenplay Oscar category, and the Original Screenplay winners are from the Best Original Story Oscar category.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

1930: All Quiet on the Western Front (Maxwell Anderson, George
Abbott, Del Andrews, and C. Gardner Sullivan)
Oscar winner: The Big House (Frances Marion) ('29/'30)
Was this nominated?: Yes

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December Oscar Predictions


I'm not sure what's going to happen during Oscar season this year. Who wins Best Picture? Les Miserables, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, and Argo all have a shot. At the moment, it's next to impossible to correctly predict all of the nominees, let alone the winners. But I'll give it a shot. 

Predicted winners indicated with an asterisk (*).

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top 10 Male Performances of All Time

Did either of these Oscar vets make my list?

Here's my other list. I would like to mention beforehand that one of these performances is driven mostly by effective voiceover work, but it never ceases to amaze me. Hope you like my list!


Monday, December 3, 2012

Top 10 Female Performances of All Time

Did either Oscar vet make my list?

I don't know if I'll review anything this week or not, so here's a list. Updated Oscar predictions are coming in a day or two, and I might post my top 10 male performances list this week as well. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oscar Campaign Bust: 2012 Films

More For Your Consideration ads are being released for this year's films, but some are clearly out of Oscar contention. Ultimately, I don't see any of the following films getting nominated.

   

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Films I Saw in November

One of my new favorite Bergman films.

The Best:
1. The Passion of Anna (x2) - ****
2. Autumn Sonata - ****
3. Witness for the Prosecution - ****
4. Skyfall (x2) - ****
5. Face to Face - ****
6. Norwegian Wood - ****
7. Heartbeats - ****
8. Twelve O'Clock High - ****
9. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - ****
10. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) - ****

More after the cut.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Best Music: 2000s

UPDATE (12/10/12): I just realized that I forgot about Mihály Vig's beautiful score for Bela Tarr's Werckmeister Harmonies. So, it's replaced Ennio Morricone's win for Malena in 2000. Sorry, but I HAD to fix that. 
 
Best Original Score:

2000: Werckmeister Harmonies (Mihály Vig)
Oscar winner: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Tan Dun)
Was this nominated?: No 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

2012 Visual Effects Oscar Shortlist

Bond's 23rd outing is up for the Visual F/X Oscar.

The Academy has just released the ten films up for Best Visual Effects this year.  Of the ten selections, only five will be nominated. Of course, this list indicates that films like The Impossible and Looper will not be nominated in this category. Press release here.

Here's the list:

The Amazing Spider-Man
The Avengers
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
John Carter
Life of Pi
Prometheus
Skyfall
Snow White and the Huntsman

Note: It was also revealed earlier this month that 21 animated films have been submitted for Best Animated Feature Film. So, that means there will be five nominees in that category as well. Press release here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Norwegian Wood: The Cinematography


IMDb Synopsis: "Toru recalls his life in the 1960s, when his friend Kizuki killed himself and he grew close to Naoko, Kizuki's girlfriend, and another woman, the outgoing, lively Midori."

Though it originally premiered in 2010, this film wasn't released in the U.S. until earlier this year. I just watched (and loved) it, and the cinematography is exquisite. For that alone, I had to plug it here. Oh, and Jonny Greenwood even contributes a haunting score, if you're interested.

More after the cut.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Double Feature: Twelve O'Clock High (1949) & Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Twelve O'Clock High - ****

In this classic World War II drama, Gregory Peck plays General Frank Savage, who is assigned to the 918th Heavy Bombardment Group, after the previous commander becomes unable to lead his troops. This flying outfit specializes in daytime bombing, which was unheard of at the time. When he takes charge of the unit, Savage is a tough leader, and the flyers under his command don't take to his less than genial demeanor. Savage's goal is to get the men working efficiently, pushing them to achieve results in the field and become a more productive outfit. To do this, he will have to win the men over with the help of a crafty officer (Dean Jagger), the ex-commander (Gary Merrill), and the mens' elected representative (Robert Patten). The group slowly improves, but an important final mission could prove disastrous for Savage, as he and his men are tested beyond in the heat of battle.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review: Life of Pi (2012)

Pi and Richard lost at sea.

Directed by Ang Lee
Produced by Gil Netter, Ang Lee, and David Womark
Written by David Magee (screenplay); Yann Martel (novel)
Starring Suraj Sharma, Irfan Khan, Rafe Spall, and Gerard Depardieu

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Top 10 Nicole Kidman Performances


Here's a list for the LAMB Acting School on one of my favorite actresses. Note: My #1 and #2 are interchangeable.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Best Music: 1990s

Best Original Score: 

1990: Edward Scissorhands (Danny Elfman)
Oscar winner: Dances with Wolves (John Barry)
Was this nominated?: No

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


It's Thanksgiving, so I wanted to say "Thanks". Thanks to my loyal readers and commenters, followers, and everyone who's visited this blog. To all who are celebrating, have a Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you're having a better one than this family did. ;)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2012 Viewing Update

I've been watching several 2012 films lately, trying to catch up before the end of the year. Here's my very brief thoughts on 12 of them (with ratings).


Damsels in Distress (dir. Whit Stillman)

**1/2

Funny moments and good performances, but the quirkiness can be quite grating at times.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: The Sessions (2012)

Hunt and Hawkes give two of 2012's best performances.

Directed by Ben Lewin
Produced by Judi Levine, Ben Lewin, and Stephen Nemeth
Written by Ben Lewin (screenplay); Mark O'Brien (article)
Starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Rhea Pearlman, Adam Arkin, and William H. Macy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review: Lincoln (2012)

Daniel Day-Lewis goes for a third Oscar.

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg
Written by Tony Kushner (screenplay); Doris Kearns Goodwin (book)
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones

Friday, November 16, 2012

Best Music: 1980s

Best Original Score:

1980: The Empire Strikes Back (John Williams)
Oscar winner: Fame (Michael Gore)
Was this nominated?: Yes

Thursday, November 15, 2012

My Movie Alphabet


Mettel Ray has started this cool Movie Alphabet blogathon. If you want to participate, just do your post, then head to the link above (or you can click the picture).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Whatever Happened to Thora Birch?


This was going to be my entry into A Fistful of Films' blogathon. But I looked at the guidelines again, and I forgot that one's pick has to be an Oscar nominee. So, here's the unused entry.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Passion of Anna (1970) vs. Face to Face (1976)


In catching up with my favorite director, I watched two great films. Both of these foreign classics are written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, and they star Liv Ullmann. (SPOILERS)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November Oscar Predictions

Affleck's film could go home with 4 wins.

Since my last update, Lincoln is officially a contender, and The Master could very well miss in Best Picture and Best Director. Also, Les Miserables could be the film to beat, even with Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi gaining momentum. Of course, Argo is still out in front, while films like Zero Dark Thirty, The Impossible, and Django Unchained could also feature in the Oscar race. Meanwhile, early guesses such as Promised Land, Seven Psychopaths, and Quartet are probably not going to be nominated. 

Potential winners indicated with an asterisk. (*)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Review: Skyfall (2012)

This one's a keeper.

Directed by Sam Mendes
Produced by Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli
Written by Neil Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan (screenplay); Ian Fleming (characters)
Starring Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomi Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, and Judi Dench

Friday, November 9, 2012

Best Music: 1970s

Best Original Score:

1970: Love Story (Francis Lai)
Oscar winner: Love Story (Francis Lai)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Review: Heartbeats (2011)

Left to right: Francis (Dolan), Nicolas (Schneider) & Marie (Chokri)

Directed by Xavier Dolan
Produced by Xavier Dolan, Carole Mondello, and Daniel Morin
Written by Xavier Dolan
Starring Monia Chokri, Niels Schneider, and Xavier Dolan

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to Lose Oscar Cred in 10 Years

Kate Hudson was nominated for an Oscar over a decade ago.

My entry into A Fistful of Films' blogathon. Please excuse the terrible pun in the title of this post. I just couldn't resist.

In 2001, Kate Hudson became an Oscar nominee for her terrific performance in Almost Famous. She had it made in Hollywood, and I'm sure she had a great many projects coming in. Unfortunately, she gambled and lost. When the remake of The Four Feathers flopped, she began appearing mostly in romantic comedies and thrillers, among which include such films as The Skeleton Key, Bride Wars, My Best Friend's Girl, and Something Borrowed. She has since been in some award-winning films like Nine and The Killer Inside Me, but her career has never gotten back on track. Next up, she appears in Mira Nair's thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I hope she gets back to doing films like Almost Famous, because she was fantastic once upon a time. 

Note: I wrote a longer post for my blogathon entry, but I forgot that one's pick must be an Oscar nominee. Look for that unused post next week.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Oscar Campaign Bust #6: Casino Royale & Quantum of Solace

007 has received no Oscar love since For Your Eyes Only (1981).

Skyfall is finally opening in the U.S. this week. Since it is getting some Oscar buzz, I thought it would be interesting to look back at the last two campaign efforts in the Bond franchise.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Best Music: 1960s

Best Original Score:

1960: Psycho (Bernard Herrmann)
Oscar winner: Exodus (Ernest Gold)
Was this nominated?: No

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Films I Saw in October

This month's best has a little something for everyone...or not.

The Best:
1. Cloud Atlas - ****
2. Pitch Perfect (x2) - ****
3. Oslo, August 31st - ****
4. Heartbeats - ****
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - ****
6. Bride of Frankenstein (theaters) - ****
7. Argo (x2) - ****
8. Sleepless Night - ****
9. Six Shooter - ****
10. Frankenstein (1931) (theaters) - ****

More after the cut.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oscar Oddity #5: Traffic (2000)


At the 73rd Academy Awards, Traffic was nominated for 5 Oscars, including Best Picture. It won Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Benicio del Toro), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing, but it lost Best Picture to Gladiator. This makes it the only Best Picture nominee to go 4/5 and lose the top prize.

Note: However, several films, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood, Miracle on 34th Street, and Jaws, have gone 3/4 and lost Best Picture.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Let the Games Begin...

Awards season is kicking off with some of the first FYC ads. Amour is gunning for multiple nominations, which is a realistic goal at this point. Rust and Bone, meanwhile, will be lucky to get a Best Actress nomination. Having not seen either film, I can't speak to the quality of the films, but hopefully Rust and Bone won't qualify for an Oscar Campaign Bust post.



Images from AwardsDaily.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Cloud Atlas (2012)

The Wachowskis and Tykwer deliver.

Directed by Andy & Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer
Produced by Stefan Arndt, Grant Hill, Tom Tykwer, and Andy & Lana Wachowski
Written by Andy & Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer (screenplay); David Mitchell (novel)
Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D'Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant

Friday, October 26, 2012

Best Music: 1950s

Best Original Score:

1950: Sunset Blvd. (Franz Waxman)
Oscar winner: Sunset Blvd. (Franz Waxman)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Top 100 Favorite Films List Updated


My list has changed drastically since my last update, and it can viewed here. This update sees 18 new films entering my list and 18 others leaving it.

Films Added:
The Artist (2011), The Birds (1963), Black Swan (2010), Casino (1995), Chinatown (1974), The Deer Hunter (1978), Doctor Zhivago (1965), Gattaca (1997), Jackie Brown (1997), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Love in the Afternoon (1957), The Lovers on the Bridge (1991), The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Pierrot le Fou (1965), Rashomon (1950), Rio Bravo (1959), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Se7en (1995)

Films Removed:
Barry Lyndon (1975), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Charade (1963), The Conversation (1974), Decision Before Dawn (1951), Gone with the Wind (1939), Goodfellas (1990), Grand Illusion (1938), La Dolce Vita (1961), The Lady Vanishes (1938), Marathon Man (1976), Mean Streets (1973), Network (1976), Out of the Past (1947), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Rocky (1976), Summer Hours (2009), Wild Strawberries (1959)

For archival purposes, here's a copy of my old list after the cut.