Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kevin's Oscar Predictions

Alright, full disclosure time, I haven't seen anywhere near all the movies and performances nominated. But when it comes to the Oscars, when has that mattered? Often times, in my opinion and the majority of society's opinion, the best nominee does not win. In fact I've heard that most of the Oscar voters don't even watch all the movies. With that said, here are my picks of who I think SHOULD win and who I think WILL win.

Best Picture: Should win - Midnight in Paris. Will win - The Artist.
Midnight in Paris because it was one of the best movies I saw all year and I really enjoyed it. (I don't enjoy all of the movies I think are "the best")

Best Director: Should win - Terrence Malick. Will win - Terrence Malick.
While the movie itself was not great, I think the directing was fantastic. Should also win for cinematography

Best Actor: Should win - Gary Oldman. Will win - Jean Dujardin
I love Gary Oldman.

Best Actress: Should win - Viola Davis. Will win - Meryl Streep
My wife loved The Help, and I've heard Viola Davis was amazing in it... but who am I kidding, Streep is due.

Best Supporting Actor: Should win - Jonah Hill. Win win - Christopher Plummer
I thought Jonah Hill should have been nominated for Cyrus. In Moneyball he portrays the same awkward nerd, just more accessible. Shows he can not only be a comedy lead, but can pull off a (semi-)serious role as well.

Best Supporting Actress: Should win - Melissa McCarthy. Will win - Melissa McCarthy.
Would love to see a comedy take home one of the top awards, and no one better than Mrs. McCarthy. The Acadamy has gotten a ton of flack for ignoring comedies, and Bridesmaids will allow then to change that perception. Props also to Octavia Spencer - can't wait to see more of her.

Side note: I've lately been drawn into more to the small screen rather than the big screen (hense the lack of reviews lately). While I won't review TV shows on here, I will tell you the top 5 shows I'm currently obsessed with: Justified (FX), Parks & Rec (NBC), Happy Endings (ABC) and the Ricky Gervais duo of Life's Too Short (HBO) and An Idiot Abroad (Science)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Grey (6/10)

I saw The Grey last night with my wife. This is important to note because I was very aware of how much she hated the film 10 minutes after it started. This may or may not have skewed my perspective. The story follows a group of Alaskan oil drillers whose plane crashes en route to Anchorage. The 7 survivors try to brave the elements and seek refuge in a nearby forest. Much of the story deals with physical survival, but the writers pose philosophical questions as well. What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? Where is God in suffering? In what appears to be a film about Liam Neeson wrestling wolves, turns out to have more of a philosophical bent than a typical action flick. That's not to say there aren't a lot of bloody, violent scenes-there are. It's just that the film is more about survival and accepting fate than battling a flock of canis lupus. I liked the film, but didn't love it. I was okay with the fact that the ending (and a bulk of the plot) was interpretive, but there was not a lot of redemption for the characters. I also read this article which ruined the way they depicted the wolves (the film's primary antagonist). My wife said it was her least favorite she has seen in a long time, and while I don't agree, I can see where she is coming from.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chronicle (8/10)

One of the things we decided when we started this blog is that all of the ratings are subjective and the scale is sort of arbitrary. For example, I saw Chronicle last night and I liked it a lot, but there is no way I can compare it to Before Sunrise on the same scale. I liked it for entirely different reasons. Chronicle had the potential to be a movie I loved or hated. It is a "found footage" movie) like Blair Witch and the Paranormal movies) where 3 high schoolers film their lives as they develop telekinetic powers, which gives them the ability to move objects with their minds and fly. We've all been in situations like that. The movie could have easily fallen into the same dry pit where other teen-based movies end up-but it didn't. It was fresh, creative and set a solid foundation for the 26 year old director's career. The story develops as one of the characters goes a mad with power (think Dark Vader) and his friends (think Rebel Alliance...ok that was a stretch) try to reel him in. The film felt like a superhero origin movie and I am certain that Fox would love to develop this thing into a franchise. The crazy thing is that the movie only cost $12 million to make and Fox did most of the marketing via Twitter and viral marketing. I would imagine a good chunk of the film's cost was also covered by product placement as companies like Pepsi, Pringles, Sony and Canon were featured prominently throughout the film. It turned a profit on its opening weekend. Like Super 8, this film chronicles (see what I did there?) the lives of teens as they record a series of extraordinary events and if you enjoyed that film you should like this one as well.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Before Sunrise/Before Sunset (8.8/10)

I watched these 2 movies over the last couple nights based on a recommendation from a student.  I sat down late Thursday night with a French beer (it just felt right) and dove headlong into the story of two serendipitous travelers. The first film (Sunrise) came out in 1995 and stars Ethan Hawke and Julia Delpy. The film follows an early 20's American (Hawke) and Frenchwoman (Delpy) who meet on a Vienna-bound train. They get off the train in Vienna and spend several hours walking around the city discussing life; their hopes, fears, failures and passions. The film is dialogue heavy and seems almost voyeuristic in the way the viewer is able to be a part of the character's conversations. I was told to watch both films close together and I can agree that it's the best way to watch these movies. Sunset takes place nine years after the first film and has a similar story without feeling stale. The filmmaking is rather impressive as there are several shots lasting over seven minutes without a take. Considering the films are so dialogue-heavy, seven minutes is a long time for the actors to deliver-but they do. The dialogue is very natural and authentic, which is probably due in part to the fact that Hawke and Delpy helped to write the scripts and Before Sunset was essentially shot in real time. The films left an impression on me, but I am still trying to process what their impact exactly was. The story was unfamiliar yet relatable. It dealt with the idea that we often squander opportunities, especially those relating to love. The movie felt very raw and real, the acting was incredible, and the European backdrop made me long to travel. I have intentionally not given that much of the story away because I feel like I would be stealing from its beauty. It's not a happy story, but it's not sad either. It's about longing and restlessness with a dash of hope. See them.

They are working on the third (and final) movie as you read this. Check out an article here.