Friday, August 31, 2012

Best Cinematography: 1950s

UPDATE: Alex suggested including each year's Oscar winner and whether or not my pick was nominated, so I've added that on my Best Picture and Best Cinematography picks. My acting picks will be updated very soon.

1950: Sunset Blvd. (John F. Seitz)
Oscar winner: The Third Man (B&W),
King Solomon's Mines (Color)
Was this film nominated?: Yes

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Oscar Updates

"I'm turning 85 next year."

I don't post much of this because I don't want to waste one post on a quick tidbit of information, so here's what's happened since late June.

8/30 - Best Original Song will now have five nominees. Period. And Best Art Direction will now be called Best Production Design. Press release.

8/23 - Also, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who've produced Hairspray, The Bucket List (both 2007), and Footloose (2011), will produce the upcoming ceremony. Press release.

7/31 - Howard Koch (executive producer of Source Code) was elected as the Academy's new president. Press release.

7/25 - New campaign rules were announced. But, outside of the studios, who really needs to know those? Press release.

7/17 - The Academy's Board of Governors was joined by newcomers Lisa Cholodenko, Dante Spinotti, Bill Condon, John Knoll, Dick Cook, and Scott Millan. Press release.

6/29 - 176 professionals, such as Jessica Chastain, the Dardenne brothers, and Alberto Iglesias, were invited to join the Academy. Press release.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: Lawless (2012)

LaBeouf and Hardy as bootlegging brothers.

Directed by John Hillcoat
Produced by Michael Benaroya, Megan Ellison, Lucy Fisher, and Douglas Wick
Written by Nick Cave (screenplay); Matt Bondurant (book)
Starring Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, and Guy Pearce

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Escape from New York (1981) vs. The Thing (1982)

I finally saw these classic John Carpenter films, both starring Kurt Russell. See who wins after the cut. (SPOILERS)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: White Heat (1949)

James Cagney is one guy you don't want to mess with.

Directed by Raoul Walsh
Produced by Louis F. Edelman
Written by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts (screenplay); Virginia Kellogg (story)
Starring James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, and Margaret Wycherly

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Ewell and Monroe in Wilder's classic comedy.

Directed by Billy Wilder
Produced by Billy Wilder and Charles K. Feldman
Written by Billy Wilder and George Axelrod (adaptation); George Axelrod (play)
Starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell

Friday, August 24, 2012

Best Cinematography: 1940s

1940: The Long Voyage Home (Gregg Toland)
Oscar winner: Rebecca (B&W),
The Thief of Bagdad (Color)
Was this film nominated?: Yes

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Deja Vu (2006) vs. Man on Fire (2004)

In remembrance of Tony Scott, I finally watched these two action films, which both star Denzel Washington. Find out who wins after the cut. (SPOILERS)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Oscar Scenes That Weren't: 2011

A victim of the snub.

Let's face it: the Academy Awards always snub one if not dozens of performances every year. Here are five scenes that should've (or could've) been nomination-worthy. Essentially, these are the scenes that probably would've been played at the Oscar ceremony when the nominee's name was read. (Granted, I had to work with what I could find online.)

Note: Performances like those of Fassbender (Shame), Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Shannon (Take Shelter), Harrelson (Rampart), Theron (Young Adult), Pitt (The Tree of Life), Paquin (Margaret), and Binoche (Certified Copy) aren't mentioned because most, if not all, of those are popular snubs.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Double Feature: Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) & The Prince of Tides (1991)

Kiss of the Spider Woman:

This adaptation features an Oscar-winning performance by William Hurt as a gay man named Luis Malina, who shares a cell with political activist Valentin Arregui (Raul Julia) in a Brazilian prison. To pass the time, Luis describes a German movie he loves in great detail, and he even nurses Valentin back to health when he is poisoned. However, Luis is trying to get information out of his fellow inmate in order to secure an early release. But Luis falls in love with the man. In the meantime, Valentin learns to trust him, which creates a problem for Luis: whether to aid his new friend or betray him.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Hector Babenco), Best Actor (Hurt), and Best Adapted Screenplay. With the film's only win, Hurt does give a good performance, but Julia deserved a nomination as well.

The Prince of Tides:

When his sister attempts suicide again, southerner Tom Wingo (Nick Nolte) visits New York City to meet with her psychiatrist, Dr. Lowenstein (Barbara Streisand). Together, they try to discover the root of his sister's depression, and their relationship becomes both personal and professional in the process. Both have troublesome marriages and both turn to each other for a brief period of happiness away from their disappointing lives. Though the film feels slightly dated, the performances and the score are above par for this kind of material.

The film received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (Kate Nelligan), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score. Although the film did not win anything, the 7 nominations it received were, arguably, reward enough.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: Manic (2003)

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 2003's indie gem.

Directed by Jordan Melamed
Produced by Trudi Callon and Kirk Hassig
Written by Michael Bacall and Blayne Weaver
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zooey Deschanel, Michael Bacall, Cody Lightning, Elden Henson, Sara Rivas, and Don Cheadle

Friday, August 17, 2012

Best Cinematography: 1930s

1930: Earth (Daniil Demutsky)
Oscar winner: With Byrd at the South Pole ('29/'30)
Was this film nominated?: No

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Review: The Misfits (1961)

Clift, Monroe, and Gable as misfits.

Directed by John Huston
Produced by Frank E. Taylor
Written by Arthur Miller
Starring Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter, and Eli Wallach

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Acting Winner Stats

Since my acting winners have all been posted, here are some fun stats on them. (Winners from 2010 and 2011 are listed as a reminder after the cut, and they can be found on my ballots here and here, which are also linked on the Yearly Top 10 page.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012)

"I give up. Where's Damon?"

Directed by Tony Gilroy
Produced by Patrick Crowley, Frank Marshall, Ben Smith, and Jeffrey M. Weiner
Written by Tony Gilroy and Dan Gilroy; characters by Robert Ludlum
Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Joan Allen, and Albert Finney

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Bargain Bin Treasures

As I mentioned here (#18 and #19), I shop for bargain DVDs, which can yield some great finds for relatively little cost. Some awesome bargains I've found after the cut.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Best Supporting Actor: 2000s

2000: Joaquin Phoenix, Quills
Oscar winner: Benicio Del Toro, Traffic
Was he nominated?: Yes (for Gladiator)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Review: Hope Springs (2012)

Jones and Streep as the "happy" couple.

Directed by David Frankel
Produced by Todd Black and Guymon Casady
Written by Vanessa Taylor
Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Ghost World (2001)

Rebecca (Johansson) and Enid (Birch) spying.

Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Produced by Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich, and Russell Smith
Written by Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff (screenplay); Daniel Clowes (comic book)
Starring Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Brad Renfro, Illeana Douglas, and Steve Buscemi

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2007: The Ultimate Year for Film?

No Country for Old Men

Back in May, I posted that My Movie Year would be 1954. Specifically, my all-time slate of five Best Picture nominees would be that year's lineup (Dial M for Murder, On the Waterfront, Rear Window, Sabrina, and Seven Samurai). But, in terms of the overall release catalog, 2007 stands out as, arguably, the best year for film ever. While many would name a year like 1939 or 1976 as film's pinnacle year, I have not seen enough films from those years to properly classify one of them as such. (For example, I've seen 17 films from 1939 and 159 films from 2007.)

Check out some of 2007's great films after the cut.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review: The Deep Blue Sea (2012)

Tom Hiddleston and Rachel Weisz in an affair.

Directed by Terence Davies
Produced by Sean O'Connor and Kate Ogborn
Written by Terence Davies (adaptation); Terence Rattigan (play)
Starring Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, Simon Russell Beale

Friday, August 3, 2012

Best Supporting Actor: 1990s

1990: Gary Oldman, State of Grace
Oscar winner: Joe Pesci, Goodfellas
Was he nominated?: No

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Films I Saw in July

My favorite superhero movie ever.

Like Stevee at Cinematic Paradox, I think this is the most films I've ever seen in one month.

The Best:

1. The Dark Knight Rises - ****
2. A Short Film About Love - ****
3. New York, New York - ****
4. A Short Film About Killing - ****
5. Aguirre, the Wrath of God - ****
6. Saraband - ****
7. Margaret (both versions) - ****
8. Carrie (1976) - ****
9. We Need to Talk About Kevin - ***1/2
10. Camera Buff - ***1/2

More after the cut.