Thursday, February 28, 2013

Double Feature: The Informer (1935) & Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)

The Informer (1935) - ***1/2

John Ford's drama takes place during Irish rebellion and follows Gypo Nolan (Victor McLaglen), a desperate ex-IRA member with no money left. In a moment of hasty decision making, he turns in his rebel friend for a 20 pound reward. He is forced to cover his guilt, but it proves too difficult to bear. As his money dwindles, his IRA friends are close to discovering the truth, and he must answer for what he has done. McLaglen's Oscar-winning performance is equal parts hammy and emotionally resonating, and the film's nod to German Expressionism gives it an appropriately ominous look. Released during the early stages of the Golden Age of Hollywood, it's not surprising that this film struck a chord with Oscar voters at the time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Blind Spot: The Rules of the Game (1939)

Octave, André, and Christine.

Directed by Jean Renoir
Produced by Jean Renoir
Written by Jean Renoir and Carl Koch
Starring Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Roland Toutain, Mila Parely, Gaston Modot, Julien Carette, Paulette Dubost, and Jean Renoir

Monday, February 25, 2013

85th Oscar Winners Announced

Argo won 3 awards, including Best Picture.

Another Oscar season has come and gone, with the frontrunner Argo taking Best Picture. Though the ceremony had its ups and downs (and ran over), I think it went quite smoothly overall. But I don't foresee Seth MacFarlane as next year's host. At least he made Tommy Lee Jones laugh.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ranking the 85th Oscar Nominees

Lincoln has 12 noms, but would I give it any wins?

This year I've managed to see most Oscar-nominated films, except for 2 feature documentaries, 4 foreign language films, and the documentary short nominees. Since the ceremony is just hours away, I thought I'd share my rankings of each category (the films I haven't seen notwithstanding). These are my personal preferences, but my final predictions can be found here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Best Film Editing: 1960s

1960: Breathless (Cécile Decugis)
Oscar winner: The Apartment (Daniel Mandell)
Was this nominated?: No

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Final 85th Oscar Predictions

Could my November prediction come true?

Well, the time is finally here. Back in November, I predicted Argo would win 4 Oscars, including Best Picture. It's possible the film will accomplish that after all. Here are my final predictions.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ranking the Best Picture Oscar Winners

A few months ago, I revealed my picks for the top 10 Best Picture winners and the top 10 worst ones. But what about the films that fall in between? Check out where they land below. (If Argo manages to lose Sunday, I'll edit the list accordingly.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top 25 Honorary Oscar Recipients

Charlie Chaplin accepting his second Honorary Oscar in 1972.

Almost every year, the Academy presents one or more film contributors with Honorary Oscars, which means there are a number of artists who've received Oscars over the years without winning competitive ones. Here are 25 oversights the Academy righted.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Early Oscar Predictions Results

In June 2012, I predicted 7 Oscar nods for The Master.

For the past few years, I've predicted the Oscar nominations several months before the nominees are announced. I didn't publish these June 2012 predictions in a post, but, thankfully, I found them in my page drafts. So, here's how I did predicting the 85th Academy Award nominees (original predictions included) seven months ahead of time.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

10 Things to Know Before the Oscar Ceremony

The 85th Oscar ceremony is only a week away. Here are some stats and reminders to keep in mind for the event next Sunday.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Best Film Editing: 1950s

1950: Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa)
Oscar winner: King Solomon's Mines (Ralph E. Winters and Conrad A. Nervig)
Was this nominated?: No

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ranking the Die Hard Films

Since the fifth Die Hard film was released today, I thought it would be fitting to examine the series, which has been around for 25 years.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Special Best Picture Oscar Posters Released

The Academy has released a collection of creative posters for its 84 Best Picture winners. You can view them at the Oscars site, but here are some of my favorites.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review: Side Effects (2013)

Dr. Banks (Law) and Emily (Mara) address her depression.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Produced by Scott Z. Burns, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, and Gregory Jacobs
Written by Scott Z. Burns
Starring Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Channing Tatum, Vinessa Shaw, and Ann Dowd

Friday, February 8, 2013

Best Film Editing: 1940s

1940: His Girl Friday (Gene Havlick)
Oscar winner: North West Mounted Police (Anne Bauchens)
Was this nominated?: No

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Double Feature: Picnic (1955) and Auntie Mame (1958)

Picnic - **

Based on the award-winning play by William Inge, director Joshua Logan's melodrama stars William Holden, Rosalind Russell, and Kim Novak in her breakout performance. Most of the film occurs over the course of one day in a small Kansas town, which is holding a Labor Day picnic. Visiting his old college friend Alan (Cliff Robertson), Hal Carter (Holden) arrives that morning and causes great unrest in some of the townspeople, among them Alan's girlfriend "Madge" Owens (Novak), her little sister Millie (Susan Strasberg), a local school teacher (Russell), and her boyfriend (Arthur O'Connell). The whole situation is complicated, but Carter leaves his mark on these citizens in a short period of time. Despite a promising premise, this misses the mark, as the characters are so unbalanced and the drama so overblown and forced that the edgy material feels too contrived and grating by today's standards. Though I can see why it received a Best Picture nomination, it's lost some of the impact it must've had in the 1950s.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Evolution of the Top 10

The Seventh Seal (1957)

I love lists. I love making lists, and I love discovering new films that force me to update those lists. It's interesting how one's favorites change over time, and I recently came across some of my old top 10 films of all time lists. Spanning over 3 years, here are five slowly evolving versions of my top 10.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Films I Saw in January

Robert Ryan in The Set-Up (1949).

The Best:

1. The Set-Up - ****
2. After Hours - ****
3. Gun Crazy - ****
4. Separate Tables (x2) - ****
5. Amour
6. Murder, My Sweet - ****
7. Brighton Rock (1947) - ****
8. The Asphalt Jungle - ****
9. Brief Encounter - ****
10. A Woman Under the Influence - ****

More after the cut.