Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Magic Mike (2012)

Channing Tatum (center) as Magic Mike

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Produced by Reid Carolin, Gregory Jacobs, Channing Tatum, and Nick Wechsler
Written by Reid Carolin
Starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, and Gabriel Iglesias

Friday, June 29, 2012

Best Supporting Actor: 1940s

1940: Frank Morgan, The Shop Around the Corner
Oscar winner: Walter Brennan, The Westerner
Was he nominated?: No

Thursday, June 28, 2012

AMPAS Makes a Few Changes

This year the Academy's rule changes are relatively small, but interesting nevertheless. For instance, Best Makeup will now be called Best Makeup and Hairstyling. In addition, Best Original Song nominees can now consist of four songwriters for a given song under certain circumstances. (I didn't even know that was an issue.) The Best Visual Effects shortlist must now be 10 films instead of 7-10, which makes sense given that it is whittled down to 5 nominees. Also, Best Foreign Language Film submissions no longer have to be screened in 35 mm or DCP in their home country. Nothing earth-shattering, but the Makeup change is a noteworthy amendment at least.

Press release here.

UPDATE: The Academy has also invited 176 people to become members.

Remembering Krzysztof Kieslowski (1941-1996)

Poland's great director would have been 71 on June 27, 2012

Krzysztof Kieslowski has created some of the finest cinematic works that few people other than critics and cinephiles have seen. Though I've only seen 5 of his films, they are all beautiful, touching masterpieces. His passing was too soon, and I hope his audience will continue to grow. While he received two Oscar nominations for Three Colors: Red, he is not known outside rather limited circles. If you haven't seen one of his films, I highly recommend you do so.

Check out a lesson in cinema with him and some movie clips after the cut.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Brave (2012)

Kelly Macdonald voices Disney's newest princess Merida

Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Produced by Katherine Sarafian
Written by Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi
Starring Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson

Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen

Directed by Rupert Sanders
Produced by Sam Mercer, Palak Patel, and Joe Roth
Written by Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini
Starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, and Toby Jones

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Double Feature: Libeled Lady (1936) and Jezebel (1938)

Libeled Lady:

Jack Conway's star-loaded screwball comedy is loaded with talent, featuring William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy, and Jean Harlow. The film pits Powell vs. Loy as an ex-reporter and his tabloid target, with Tracy as a newspaper editor and Harlow as his loyal fiance. Although the film is not a canonical classic, it is an enjoyable feature with a few laughs and a fine cast.

The film received a single nomination for Best Picture, while other classic films like Modern Times and My Man Godfrey were unfortunately snubbed in the Best Picture category. It lost its only nomination to a better film (The Great Ziegfeld, which also stars Powell and Loy), but I would recommend it to classic movie fans.


Bette Davis gives an Oscar-winning performance as Julie, a spoiled Southern girl, in William Wyler's classic melodrama. After driving away her beloved (Henry Fonda), Julie is forced to shed her pride and sense of entitlement, humbling herself as she strives to regain his love. Davis, not surprisingly, gives one of her best performances in this movie.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress (Fay Bainter), Best Cinematography, and Best Music (Scoring). Again, Davis won for her performance, as did Fay Bainter, but the film lost in its three other categories.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Most Anticipated Movie of 2013...

Hawke, Linklater, and Delpy on Sunset the second sequel to Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004), which would both earn Best Picture honors from me. Hope the film is a worthy follow-up from Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy. Can't. Wait.

More info here.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Just Watched "Breaking the Waves"

Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves (1996)
Wow. Simply. Breathtaking. Wonderful performances in a gritty masterwork from Lars von Trier. I can't say enough good things about the film, as I'm still processing it. It's definitely my favorite von Trier film. Also, Emily Watson totally deserved that Oscar over Frances McDormand. Anyway, I loved it. If you can find a copy to watch, be sure to do so. ****

Friday, June 15, 2012

Best Supporting Actress: 2000s

2000: Jennifer Connelly, Requiem for a Dream
Oscar winner: Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock
Was she nominated?: No

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Prometheus (2012)

Michael Fassbender in Prometheus

Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by David Giler, Walter Hill, Ridley Scott, and Tony Scott
Written by Jon Spaihts and Damon Lindelof
Starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, and Charlize Theron

Monday, June 11, 2012

100 Film Facts About Me

Idea swiped from Cinematic Paradox.

One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

1.    The first film I remember seeing was One Hundred and One Dalmatians on VHS.
2.    In theaters, the first film I remember seeing was The Lion King.
3.    The first DVD I bought was Rat Race.
4.    I no longer own that film.
5.    I love matinees. They're cheaper, and that means I can watch a DVD at night.
6.    Krzysztof Kieslowski, Ingmar Bergman, and Billy Wilder are amazing.
7.    I almost regularly watch a movie in shifts when I go to bed and when I get ready the next morning.
8.    I often watch it again two or three times in a week that way.
9.    My favorites to do this with are A Good Year, The Philadelphia Story, Dial M for Murder, The Awful Truth, and His Girl Friday.
10.    Speaking of which, I think A Good Year is probably the best feel-good movie I've ever seen.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Friday, June 8, 2012

Best Supporting Actress: 1990s

1990: Annette Bening, The Grifters
Oscar winner: Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost
Was she nominated?: Yes

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bergman for My Birthday

Thanks to a lovely gift card, I was able to order these foreign gems. My Bergman collection is taking a step up.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Double Feature: Love Affair (1939) and Wuthering Heights (1939)

Love Affair:

Better known as 1957's remake An Affair to Remember, this heartbreaking melodrama features Irene Dunne and Charles Boyer as lovers who meet on a cruise and agree to meet again, only to have their meeting spoiled. The love story is no epic (88 minutes), but it doesn't have to be. This is an underseen classic romance with great performances. While it is not one of 1939's best films, it is no wonder that this received a Best Picture nomination in a year of ten nominees.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress (M. Ouspenskaya), Best Writing (Story), Best Art Direction, and Best Original Song. Though it did not win anything, the Best Picture nomination was arguably consolation enough, given that better films like Only Angels Have Wings, Gunga Din, The Roaring Twenties, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame were not nominated for Best Picture.

Wuthering Heights:

This classic from 1939 is a wonderful adaptation of Emily Bronte's famous literary work. Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon are magnificent as Heathcliff the poor stable boy and Cathy - his wealthy adopted sister. With a love story that has endured many cinematic versions, the film rivals the sweeping romance of Scarlett and Rhett in Gone with the Wind. William Wyler's film is one of the very best that 1939 has to offer, and it very much deserved its Best Picture nomination.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (G. Fitzgerald), Best Writing (Screenplay), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography (B&W), and Best Original Score. It did not win Best Picture, but it did win cinematographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane) his only Oscar.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Starting Fresh (Somewhat)

Dear Reader (if there is one):

If you've ever read this blog, you'll notice that I've recently changed many things. For starters, the blog has officially been retitled "The Cinematic Spectacle" from "The Hollywood Spectacle". I made this change because I love modern and foreign films and wanted to focus on more than just classic Hollywood ones. Since the blog looked a bit drab, I redesigned its look as well. Also, I've added a "Reviews" page with reviews from 2012. The reason I did not post reviews for modern films when I started this blog last fall is because this blog originated as a classic movie blog with some Oscar coverage. In recent months, I've moved away from that, so expect new reviews and more posts. I will discuss modern films and classic ones and will still cover the ongoing Oscar race. Essentially, I will post anything movie-related under this new platform.

P.S. - I will also be applying to the LAMB soon.


Friday, June 1, 2012

Best Supporting Actress: 1980s

1980: Charlotte Rampling, Stardust Memories
Oscar winner: Mary Steenburgen, Melvin and Howard
Was she nominated?: No