Thursday, December 29, 2011

MOVIES TO SEE BEFORE OSCAR NIGHT



My goal every year is to see as many Oscar contenders as possible. It is rather difficult. Either the movies aren't shown in my area, they come and go too soon, some of the movies I see end up out of the race or they all pile up at the end of the year and I just run out of time. I started early, but there are still many to see as well as some that I have no desire. I made a list of all of the films you should see before Oscar night. Some, like TRANSFORMERS are on the list for their possible technical nominations.  Or THE MUPPETS for best song. Here is the list with the star indicating movies I have seen. I have a long way to go. Please feel free to comment on the movies you have seen from the list.

The Artist
Moneyball*
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Help*
J. Edgar
The Descendants*
War Horse*
The Tree of Life
Hugo*
Margin Call*
Midnight in Paris
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Albert Nobbs
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Take Shelter
My Week With Marilyn
The Adventures of Tintin
Pina
The Iron Lady
Rise of the Planet of the Apes*
Shame
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Drive*
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Happy Feet 2
Winnie the Pooh
Beginners*
Coriolanus
Rango
The Ides of March
50/50*
A Separation
Like Crazy*
Bill Cunningham New York*
Buck
Warrior
Captain America: The First Avenger
In Darkness
Le Havre
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Senna
Tabloid
Bridesmaids*
The Interrupters
Where Do We Go Now?
Young Adult
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Rio
The Muppets
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Melancholia*
A Better Life
Rampart
Puss in Boots

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

OSCARS POSTER EMOTIONS





The poster for this years Academy Awards was released today.

Supported by the tagline “Celebrate the movies in all of us,” the design is meant to evoke the emotional connections we all have with the movies. “Whether it’s a first date or a holiday gathering with friends or family, movies are a big part of our memory,” said Academy President Tom Sherak. “The Academy Awards not only honor the excellence of these movies, but also celebrate what they mean to us as a culture and to each of us individually.”


Hmm "emotional connection to the movies".  It is no secret that emotion makes a Best Picture. Sasha Stone on Awardsdaily.com has recently been saying that the Academy voters are really choosing the movies that made them cry the most. If you look at the scenes in the poster that seems to ring true. So how does that translate this year? I have not seen THE ARTIST, but I don't think that it will make you cry. THE ARTIST hoopla is about great film making and acting. Does that deserve to win over WAR HORSE which is the crier of the two? In fact every movie in the running for Best Picture has their "crying" moments; THE DESCENDANTS, HUGO, MONEYBALL, THE HELP, THE TREE OF LIFE and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.

BALLOTS MAILED OUT




The ballots for the 84th Academy Awards were mailed out yesterday. Around 6,000 members will receive their ballots where they will choose the nominations. This year there could be anywhere from 5 to 10 Best Picture nominees depending on how many voters choose a film to be their number 1 choice. The ballot counting is all done by hand. Variety did a decent job of trying to explain the process and how the votes are counted:


The first step for PwC tabulators is to determine the minimum number of first-place votes any given film would require to secure a nomination; they do this by dividing the maximum number of slots plus one, i.e., 11, by the total number of ballots returned.


Then the ballots are sorted into piles based the number of No. 1 votes each film receives. Any film that already has that minimum number of votes is automatically on the list of nominees.


"We actually are pushing a lot of paper," Rosas said with a laugh.


Conversely, a film with less than 1% of the vote is eliminated, according to Academy rules. The eliminated films' ballots are then reallocated based on the No. 2 choice, assuming it hasn't already secured a slot. If a ballot's second choice is already nominated, the tabulators keep going down the list to ensure that a vote gets counted toward a film that needs it.


Further complicating matters, the system is designed to avoid letting any single film end up with a preponderance of votes. For that reason, if any film at this stage has a surplus of votes, or 10% more than what is needed to secure a slot, the second choice on those ballots are reallocated at a reduced value.


"We will reallocate all of the ballots for the film to the second-place choice, assuming the second place film hasn't otherwise been nominated," Rosas explains.


There could be any number of films that have secured a slot at this point, but this is where the change for this year comes into play:


"At this particular juncture, we will then determine the 5% threshold of all the outstanding votes. Meaning, if I have 6,000 votes out there, we're going to look and say, what's 5% of 6,000? It's 300. All those films with 300 or more votes will be nominated, unless I have more than 10. If we have at least five, but less than 10, we're done," Rosas explained.


The real salient question for voters is, Does it make sense to fill out all of the slots on the ballot? Will those votes be counted? The answer is: Well, it depends.


"If they pick two films that they just love, but they're kind of in the weeds, and those films get eliminated in the 1% round, then I have nowhere else to allocate that vote. It depends on their taste in movies, and how well it matches the taste of the Academy overall. The preferential system's always been geared in favor of those voters who fill out a complete ballot, and it's still the case now," Rosas said.


Got it?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

TIMING IS EVERYTHING



2011 was the year of late releases. The most anticipated movies of the year were released way late into the Oscar season. This could be for a number of reasons. The thinking could be that Academy voters tend to vote for films that are freshest in their minds, so why not release it as late as possible. Maybe if the anticipation lasts all year, more people will run out to see when it is finally released. But releasing movies late can be very problematic. First of all you risk not being recognized in any critic awards. This is instrumental in keeping the momentum going. The late comers also get lost in the shuffle at the end. With the competition so tough this year, the late comers are being left out. It turns out movies like WE BOUGHT A ZOO, THE IRON LADY, EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO have all had mediocre reviews after being anticipated for most of 2011. Could it be that if any of these movies were released earlier in the year the critics may have reviewed them better? The expectations are low for the first half of the year, so when a better film is seen during this time it becomes a bigger surprise hence a better review. For Instance THE HELP, THE TREE OF LIFE and MIDNIGHT IN PARIS have hung on since their release in the Summer. Unfortunately the opposite can happen. WIN WIN is one of my favorites of the year and Paul Giamatti could easily have received a Best Actor nomination if it had been released in the Fall. Same goes for CEDAR RAPIDS. Yes, a real good movie is good regardless of when it comes out, but when it comes to winning an Academy Award timing is everything.

Monday, December 26, 2011

OSCAR TIMELINE



This week begins the Oscar voting process. Here are some key dates that are coming up:


12/27 - Nomination ballots mailed
1/13 - Nominations polls close (5pm PST)
1/24 - Nominations announced (5:30am PST)
2/01 - Final ballots mailed
2/06 - Nominees Luncheon
2/11 - Scientific & Technical Awards presentation
2/21 - Final polls close (5pm PST)
2/26 - 84th Academy Awards presentation

Sunday, December 25, 2011

SOME CONSTRUCTION

Been having some problems with the redesign. Going to back to a simple layout for the time being. 




In the mean time HAPPY HOLIDAYS from MattAwards.com. 

Lots of things happening in the Oscar race in the coming days. Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

MOVIES I HAVE SEEN SO FAR




I am not one of the many critics and bloggers that get to see early screenings. I am pretty much on my own and have to take the word of others until I am able to see the contenders. Here are the potential award winning films I have seen so far:

MARGIN CALL-Good solid movie. Great cast with Kevin Spacey, Stanely Tucci and Jeremy Irons. The film follows an investment bank during the first 24 hours of a financial collapse. It can be a little slow at time, but this movie is all about great acting. With the exception of Demi Moore. The other actors are so great that Demi's poor performance really stands out. MY GRADE: B+

MELANCHOLIA-So far my favorite movie of the year. You can see my entire review in an earlier post. It has had a few critics award nominations. MY GRADE: A-

LIKE CRAZY-This movie is the apitame of "independent" movies. It is pretty impressive fo a movie that was made for $250,000 and filmed on a digital camera. The story  is somewhat flawed, but Felicity Jones is pretty impressive. MY GRADE: B-

THE DESCENDANTS-Great movie with a great performance from George Clooney. He will most likely get a Best Actor nomination. Shailene Woodley plays Clooney's oldest daughter and deserves a Best Supporting Actress nomination, but the competition in that category may be too much for her to get in. What I love about this movie is the unpredictability in every scene. Much like Alexander Payne's other films; Sideways and About Schmidt you never really know what is going to come next. This is very refreshing considering the predictability of so many movies. The Sid character was a bit silly and over the top, but there is a scene with him and Clooney that makes Sid more like able towards the end. For most of the year I have predicted THE DESCENDANTS to win Best Picture. I am sad to say that it seems to be losing it's momentum as the critics awards are being handed out. THE ARTIST now is the front runner, but so was THE SOCIAL NETWORK last year at this time. MY GRADE: A


TYRANNOSAUR-This little film is not for everyone. It is also not being seen by anyone. Jeff Wells of Hollywood-elsewhere.com had so much faith in this movie that he raised $2000 on his own to organize a screening. Not many showed up and the movie has only grossed $15,000 in the US. It is "the story of Joseph a man plagued by violence and a rage that is driving him to self-destruction. As Joseph's life spirals into turmoil a chance of redemption appears in the form of Hannah, a Christian charity shop worker. Their relationship develops to reveal that Hannah is hiding a secret of her own with devastating results on both of their lives." Great performance by Olivia Colman as Hannah. The end is underwhelming and I would have preferred a bigger payoff. MY GRADE: B-


WAR HORSE-I was able to attend an early screening in November. While some parts are flawed, as a whole it is a very good film. WAR HORSE is a Spielberg epic and will get a Best Picture nomination.
MY GRADE: A-

DRIVE-This movie is in the top 5 of movies I have seen this year. "A Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman discovers that a contract has been put on him after a heist gone wrong." Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks are fantastic. Carey Mulligan is miss cast in her role. The scene in the elevator is one of the most suspenseful scenes in a movie I have ever seen. At this point the rest of the completely changes into a violent free for all. MY GRADE: A


MONEYBALL-Seems to have the momentum to make it to a Best Picture nomination. Brad Pitt is definitely going to get a Best Actor nomination and Jonah Hill will get a Best Supporting Actor nomination. Many say that it is not a baseball movie...ummmm it's a baseball movie!! Brilliantly written, bit I was a little disappointed in the ending. MY GRADE: B+

THE HELP-The sleeper hit of the Summer. Came out of nowhere. Great performances with many acting nominations to come. It continues to win critic awards and is showing up on many top 10 lists of the year. The momentum has weakened some, but depending on how many Best Picture nominees there will be, it still has a chance. MY GRADE: A-

BRIDESMAIDS-By far the best comedy of the year. Unfortunately The Academy is too highbrow to nominate it for Best Picture. It could get a screenplay nomination, but that is unlikely. Melissa McCarthy deserves a Best Supporting Actress nomination, but I don't know if having diarrhea in a bathroom sink is really Oscar material.

More to come....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

THE ARTIST



On May 19th this year I wrote a post asking if a black and white, silent, French movie could win an Oscar this year. The answer is clearly YES!. THE ARTIST is the front runner for a Best Picture win. It has been nominated for numerous critics awards and in many critics top 10 of the year. One of the obstacles it might have to win Best Picture is that THE ARTIST does not have a big "behind the scenes" story like SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE that almost went straight to DVD or a story of how the film was never made. The Academy loves the underdogs that have great stories to go along with them. HUGO has Scorsese's first attempt at a children's movie. MONEYBALL took something like 7 years to finally get made. WAR HORSE is a Spielberg epic. THE HELP was the huge Summer sleeper. HARRY POTTER is the most successful franchise ever and I could go on.  I don't think that THE ARTIST'S lack of "story" will effect the outcome. A black and white silent movie in an era of CGI, 3D and loud explosions winning an Oscar is a pretty damn good story.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS




The Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning. These are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press and are usually considered a precursor to the Oscars. I see it more as "Oscar lite". The Globes tend to take more risks and have some surprises. THE ARTIST received the most nominations at 6. THE DESCENDANTS and THE HELP both received 5.  Ricky Gervais will again host the ceremony on January 15th. Here is the full list of nominations with my personal opinion of each category:

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
"War Horse"
"The Ides of March"
"The Help"
"Moneyball"
"Hugo"
"The Descendants"
I had pretty much counted out THE IDES OF MARCH, but it is a good place to get recognized. The rest are pretty much expected.

BEST PICTURE, COMEDY
"The Artist"
"50/50"
"Bridesmaids"
"My Week With Marilyn"
"Midnight in Paris"
Great to see BRIDESMAIDS and 50/50 get recognized. It will be tough to win over THE ARTIST.

BEST ACTOR, DRAMA
George Clooney in "The Descendants"
Brad Pitt in ''Moneyball''
Leonardo DiCaprio in ''J.Edgar''
Ryan Gosling in ''The Ides of March''
Michael Fassbender in ''Shame''
No real surprise here. Would have like to have seen Woody Harrelson for RAMPART get a nomination.

BEST ACTRESS, DRAMA
Viola Davis in ''The Help''
Meryl Streep in ''The Iron Lady''
Tilda Swinton in ''We Need to Talk About Kevin''
Rooney Mara in ''The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo''
Glenn Close in ''Albert Nobbs''
Would like to have seen Kirsten Dunst and/or Elizabeth Olsen on the list. 

BEST ACTOR, COMEDY
Jean Dujardin in ''The Artist''
Brendan Gleeson in ''The Guard''
Owen Wilson in ''Midnight in Paris''
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in ''50/50''
Ryan Gosling in ''Crazy, Stupid, Love''
Brendan Gleeson for THE GUARD is a surprise. I read a couple good things about this movie and Gleeson's performance, but didn't think I would hear from it again.

BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY
Michelle Williams, ''My Week With Marilyn''
Jodie Foster, ''Carnage''
Kristen Wiig, ''Bridesmaids''
Charlize Theron, ''Young Adult''
Kate Winslet, ''Carnage''
Huge mistake to leave out for Melissa McCarthy in BRIDESMAIDS. Way too many nominations from CARNAGE.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Albert Brooks, ''Drive''
Christopher Plummer, ''Beginners''
Kenneth Branagh, ''My Week With Marilyn''
Jonah Hill, ''Moneyball''
Viggo Mortensen, ''A Dangerous Method''
Albert Brooks all the way!

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Berenice Bejo, ''The Artist''
Octavia Spencer, ''The Help''
Jessica Chastain, ''The Help''
Janet McTeer, ''Albert Nobbs''
Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"

BEST DIRECTOR
Martin Scorsese, ''Hugo''
George Clooney, ''The Ides of March''
Michel Hazanavicius, ''The Artist''
Alexander Payne, ''The Descendants''
Woody Allen, ''Midnight in Paris''
George Clooney for IDES and no Spielberg for WAR HORSE?

BEST SCREENPLAY
''Midnight in Paris''
''The Ides of March''
''The Artist''
''The Descendants''
''Moneyball''

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
''Rango''
''The Adventures of Tintin''
''Puss in Boots''
''Arthur Christmas''
''Cars 2''
Not many great animated films to choose from this year if you don't count motion capture. RANGO seems to be the favorite.

BEST FOREIGN FILM
''In the Land of Blood and Honey''
''Flowers of War''
''The Skin I Live In''
''The Kid With a Bike''
''A Separation''

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
''W.E.''
''The Help''
''Albert Nobbs''
''Machine Gun Preacher''
''Gnomeo and Juliet''

BEST SCORE
''The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo''
''War Horse''
''The Artist''
''W.E.''
The only 2 places Madonna will get any recognition for W.E. is ironically for the music. Madonna needs to stay with what she is good at. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SAG NOMINATIONS




The Screen Actors Guild nominations were announced bright and early this morning in LA. This is a very prestigious award to the acting community because they are chosen and voted on by fellow actors. Sure an Oscar is great for publicity, but everyone loves the attention of one of their own. SAG honors film and television. I am only going to list the film nominees.

THE Help had the most nominations with four. EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE, HARRY POTTER, WAR HORSE and HUGO were shut out. No film has won best picture in the last 15 years without a SAG nomination. I am not sure why because to me acting is totally separate from the movie. You can have great acting in a mediocre film as well as the opposite. WAR HORSE and HUGO are more about movie making than acting.


Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
DEMIÁN BICHIR / Carlos Galindo - “A BETTER LIFE”
GEORGE CLOONEY / Matt King - "THE DESCENDANTS”
LEONARDO DiCAPRIO / J. Edgar Hoover - "J. EDGAR"
JEAN DUJARDIN / George - "THE ARTIST"
BRAD PITT / Billy Beane - "MONEYBALL"

A surprise with the Demian Bicher in A BETTER LIFE.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
GLENN CLOSE  / Albert Nobbs - "ALBERT NOBBS”
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark - “THE HELP”
MERYL STREEP / Margaret Thatcher - “THE IRON LADY”
TILDA SWINTON / Eva - “WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN”
MICHELLE WILLIAMS / Marilyn Monroe - “MY WEEK WITH MARILYN”

Glenn Close was having trouble staying in the race. This nomination is a big help.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
KENNETH BRANAGH / Sir Laurence Olivier - “MY WEEK WITH MARILYN”
ARMIE HAMMER / Clyde Tolson - "J. EDGAR"
JONAH HILL / Peter Brand - "MONEYBALL"
NICK NOLTE / Paddy Conlon - “WARRIOR”
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER / Hal - “BEGINNERS”

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
BÉRÉNICE BEJO / Peppy - "THE ARTIST"
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Celia Foote - “THE HELP”
MELISSA McCARTHY / Megan - “BRIDESMAIDS”
JANET McTEER / Hubert Page - "ALBERT NOBBS”
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson - “THE HELP”

Great to see Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids. She probably won't win, but it at lease is some recognition.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
THE ARTIST
BÉRÉNICE BEJO / Peppy
JAMES CROMWELL / Clifton
JEAN DUJARDIN / George
JOHN GOODMAN / Al Zimmer
PENELOPE ANN MILLER / Doris
BRIDESMAIDS
ROSE BYRNE / Helen
JILL CLAYBURGH / Annie’s Mom
ELLIE KEMPER / Becca
MATT LUCAS  / Gil
MELISSA McCARTHY / Megan
WENDI McLENDON-COVEY / Rita
CHRIS O’DOWD / Rhodes
MAYA RUDOLPH / Lillian
KRISTEN WIIG / Annie
THE DESCENDANTS
BEAU BRIDGES / Cousin Hugh
GEORGE CLOONEY / Matt King
ROBERT FORSTER / Scott Thorson
JUDY GREER  / Julie Speer
MATTHEW LILLARD  / Brian Speer
SHAILENE WOODLEY  / Alexandra King3
THE HELP
JESSICA CHASTAIN / Celia Foote
VIOLA DAVIS / Aibileen Clark
BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD / Hilly Holbrook
ALLISON JANNEY / Charlotte Phelan
CHRIS LOWELL / Stuart Whitworth
AHNA O’REILLY / Elizabeth Leefolt
SISSY SPACEK / Missus Walters
OCTAVIA SPENCER / Minny Jackson
MARY STEENBURGEN / Elaine Stein
EMMA STONE / Skeeter Phelan
CICELY TYSON / Constantine Jefferson
MIKE VOGEL / Johnny Foote
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
KATHY BATES / Gertrude Stein
ADRIEN BRODY / Salvador Dali
CARLA BRUNI / Museum Guide
MARION COTILLARD / Adriana
RACHEL McADAMS / Inez
MICHAEL SHEEN / Paul
OWEN WILSON / Gil

Monday, December 12, 2011

BIG DAY!!




Sunday was a big day for critic awards winners and nomination announcements. We are really getting a feel now for the movies that have the momentum to them to The Academy Awards. Here are all of the announcements from Sunday:

Boston Film Critics Association Awards Winners
Best Picture: THE ARTIST
Best Director: Martin Scorsese for HUGO.
Best Actor: Brad Pitt for MONEYBALL Runners up: George Clooney for THE DESCENDANTS, Michael Fassbender for SHAME
Best Actress (another competitive one!): Michelle Williams for MY WEEK WITH MARILYN.
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks for DRIVE
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy for BRIDESMAIDS. Jeannie Berlin: close second for MARGARET


New York Online Film Critics
BEST PICTURE: THE ARTIST
BEST DIRECTOR – MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS for The Artist
BEST ACTOR – MICHAEL SHANNON for Take Shelter
BEST ACTRESS – MERYL STREEP for “The Iron Lady”
BEST ENSEMBLE CAST – BRIDESMAIDS


AFI Top 10
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Help
J. Edgar
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
War Horse
Bridesmaids


LA Film Critics Awards
BEST PICTURE, Winner: The Descendants. Runner-Up: The Tree of Life.
BEST DIRECTOR, Winner: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life. Runner-Up: Martin Scorsese, Hugo.
BEST ACTOR, Winner: Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class. Runner-Up:  Michael Shannon, Take Shelter.
BEST ACTRESS, Winner: Yun Jung-hee, Poetry. Runner-Up: Kirsten Dunst,  Melancholia.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, Winner: Jessica Chastain, Coriolanus, The Debt, The Help,“Take Shelter, Texas Killing Fields, Tree of Life  Runner-Up: Janet McTeer,  Albert Nobbs.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, Winner: Christopher Plummer, Beginners. Runner-Up: Patton Oswalt,  Young Adult.


Detroit Film Critic Nominees

  BEST PICTURE
  THE ARTIST
  THE DESCENDANTS
   HUGO
   TAKE SHELTER
   THE TREE OF LIFE

   BEST DIRECTOR
   MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS – THE ARTIST
   TERRENCE MALICK – THE TREE OF LIFE
   JEFF NICHOLS – TAKE SHELTER
   MARTIN SCORSESE– HUGO
   NICHOLAS WINDING REFN – DRIVE

   BEST ACTOR
   GEORGE CLOONEY– THE DESCENDANTS
   JEAN DUJARDIN – THE ARTIST
   MICHAEL FASSBENDER – SHAME
   BRAD PITT – MONEYBALL
   MICHAEL SHANNON – TAKE SHELTER

BEST ACTRESS
VIOLA DAVIS – THE HELP
FELICITY JONES – LIKE CRAZY
MERYL STREEP – THE IRON LADY
CHARLIZE THERON – YOUNG ADULT
MICHELLE WILLIAMS – MY WEEK WITH MARILYN


San Francisco Film Critics Winners

Best Picture
The Tree of Life
Best Director
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Best Original Screenplay
J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”
Best Adapted Screenplay
Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Best Actor
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”                                                         
Best Actress
Tilda Swinton“We Need to Talk About Kevin”
 Best Supporting Actor
Albert Brooks“Drive”
Best Supporting Actress
Vanessa Redgrave“Coriolanus”

Friday, December 9, 2011

VISUAL EFFECTS SEMIFINALISTS




The Academy announced the 15 movies that will compete for a visual effect Oscar. In the beginning of January they will dwindle down the list to 10 before choosing the final 5 nominees. Here is a list of the 15 that are eligible:


Captain America: The First Avenger
Cowboys & Aliens
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Sucker Punch
Super 8
Thor
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Tree of Life
X-Men: First Class



In my opinion the final five will be:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Hugo
The Tree of Life
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE TRAILER

One movie that has yet to be seen which is keeping it out of many critics awards and Oscar hype is EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE. There are a few "Word of Mouth" screenings this weekend.

Here is a new trailer just released trailer #2

Monday, December 5, 2011

MELANCHOLIA: MY REVIEW



This weekend I rented MELANCHOLIA on-demand. I like this new way that some studios are releasing their movies. MARGIN CALL is being rolled out the same way. While these movies are in theaters they are also available on-demand for a few extra dollars than other new releases. A film like MELANCHOLIA is not showing anywhere near me, so having the option to rent it on-demand is great.

Wow what a movie. Kirsten Dunst won Best Actress in Cannes this year and now I know why. She plays Justine a new bride who suffers from debilitating depression. The movie is split into two parts. First we see Justine's wedding and start to get a feel for how her illness manifests itself. With the help of her sister Justine works on her recovery. Then the movie changes when they follow her sister and oh yeah a planet is heading on a crash course with earth. Dunst is fantastic playing it very low key, yet undeniably believable.  Director Lars Van Trier is able to create such a feeling of dread toward the end, I felt like I needed to run and hide from this Apocalypse. It probably could have been a little shorter, but trimming it could have rushed the suspense. I no doubt will have nightmares tonight and that is good!

Just tonight it was announced that MELANCHOLIA won Best Picture as well as awards for cinematography and production design at the European Film Awards. I am not sure if it has enough legs for many Oscar wins, but it is sure to get some production nominations. Lars Van Trier's comments at Cannes claiming to be a Nazi sympathizer probably won't make him a favorite with the Academy.  The Best Actress category is unfortunately way too competitive for Dunst this year. Maybe a Golden Globe??

MY GRADE: A-

Friday, December 2, 2011

NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW WINNERS




Yesterday the National Board of Review announced their winners.  This is where we start to see the movies that have Oscar potential.


Best Film: Hugo
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Best Ensemble: The Help
Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)
NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime
NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book
to Film

Top Films
The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
Tree of Life
War Horse
 
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Footnote
Le Havre
Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries
Born to be Wild
Buck
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim
Senna

Top 10 Independent Films
50/50
Another Earth
Beginners
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids
Margin Call
Shame
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Win Win