"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Monday, January 31, 2011

The King's Speech heads towards a sweep

The Director's Guild Winners

Best Feature Film: Tom Hooper for The King's Speech
Best Documentary: Charles Ferguson for Inside Job

The Screen Actor's Guild Winners

Female Actor in a Leading Role: Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Male Actor in a Leading Role: Colin Firth for The King's Speech
Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Christian Bale for The Fighter
Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture: The King's Speech
Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Inception

And there it is. The final nail in the coffin.  The King's Speech won big over this past weekend taking the DGA for Tom Hooper and the SAG for Colin Firth and an ensemble win for its cast.  I'm sure that the film is great and worthy of its accolades but I just don't get it.  In a film year that contains amazing work like The Social Network, Inception and Black Swan, how can The King's Speech take it all?  The evidence is becoming pretty hard to ignore.  Until early January, The Social Network was sweeping the critics awards with Inception putting in a respectable performance for the technical awards and The Fighter cleaning up on the supporting actors awards.  I was fine with that.

But since then, The King's Speech has quietly sneaked up all stolen all their thunder.  It doesn't hurt that the film's producer is Harvey Weinstein who is known for pulling off movie upsets like this with wins for Shakespeare in Love and Chicago.  It's true, sometimes the Best Picture of the year doesn't win the Oscar.  Oscar history is littered with films that didn't win the big one but since it seemed that in the past two years, the Academy has been daring and correct in awarding the right awards like Kathryn Bigelow making history by being the first woman director for The Hurt Locker or Geoffrey Fletcher as the first African-American screenwriter for Precious or Slumdog Millionaire winning Best Picture when part the movie was spoken in Hindi and the cast was completely non-American.  Therefore, it baffles my mind to see a step back for the Academy back to their safe ways of voting.  Of course, no awards have yet been handed out but they might as well be.  It is still long way off until February 27th and I, for one, will stubbornly continue to hope for The Social Network and Inception to make it after all.  A stupid gamble but one that I'm still willing to make.

ETA: That was the end of my piece.  But I read this article, The Reasons Why the Oscar Race is already Over, in Time by Richard Corliss and he sums up exactly what I'm feeling at this moment, I want to share it and his words with you.  

What's the matter, then, with The Social Network? Its pace is snappier, its IQ way higher, its ambitions greater, its subject more modern. It also believes there's no crying in a Facebook film. It doesn't give the audience a strong hero to root for. These are all attributes, not liabilities, in this movie — but not in a movie that wins Best Picture. The Social Network's Mark Zuckerberg might earn the envy of viewers, but Firth's George VI wins their sympathy. Like a lot of moviegoers, the Academy members go for heart over head, warm over cool. And in the race for the ultimate Oscar, given the choice of a film they respect and one they love, they'll take love every time.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Breaking News: Henry Cavill cast as Superman!

Zack Synder and Warner Brothers have chosen their Superman.  It's Henry Cavill (The Tudors).  What do we think? 

Massive Weekly News Roundup: Lots of new castings and 2012 release dates

  • The Hunger Games trilogy has a release date for the first film, March 23, 2012.  Mark your calendars!
  • After Charlize Theron dropped out of J. Edgar, Naomi Watts has been added to the cast as Hoover's secretary.  This is shaping up to be some cast.   We might be seeing them around next year when awards season rolls around.  
  • Reports of a Alfred Hitchcock biopic are floating around, could Anthony Hopkins be playing the famed director?
  • More on The Hunger Games, LA Times' Hero Complex blog reports that Chloe Moretz would love to play Katniss Everdeen.  Yeah, I don't think so.  Too young!  I would like someone unknown to play the role.  Having someone familiar would take away from the character so well-defined in the books already. 
  • DreamWorks Animation has announced their next big film, Rise of the Guardians, based on the book series by William Joyce The Guardians of Childhood.  Chris Pine, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman and Isla Fisher all play childhood heroes like Jack Frost, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.  This reminds of a teaser trailer of the Man in the Moon released in 2009.  This was long rumored to be DreamWorks next, it's now been made official.  Rise of the Guardians is set to release November 21, 2012.
  • Another Peter Jackson favorite, Saorise Ronan, will be joining The Hobbit.  Meanwhile, Jackson hasn't been doing that great himself, he underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer.  The Hobbit will suffer a minor production delay due to this.  Get well soon, Mr. Jackson!
  • Dame Judi Dench will be back as M for Bond 23.  We need a title already, can't keep calling it Bond 23.  
  • Michael Fassbender seems to be in everything these days.  Well, he can add Ridley Scott's Prometheus aka The Alien prequel to his list.  He'll join Noomi Rapace who was already cast in the film and will be hitting theaters June 8th, 2012.  2012 is already shaping to be a "the" year for big releases, isn't it?
  • Viggo Mortensen is said to be in talks for Snow White and the Huntsman.  Will Kirsten Stewart (Twilight) be playing Snow White also?  
  • Benjamin Walker has been confirmed as Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Great, but, uhm, who's Benjamin Walker?  Must investigate.  I think that's two roles now that Tom Hardy has lost out on.  He was also rumored to be in the running for Snow White and the Huntsman.  
  • Were you thinking it's time for an Annie remake?  Will Smith and Jay Z sure did.  The two megastars are getting together to produce the remake as a starring vehicle for, drumroll please, Willow Smith.  Please, could it be anyone else?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Countdown to Oscars: Your Oscar Hosts!

Yeah, this is totally happening!  

(Pics: Thanks to Just Jared)

They want to distract us with eye candy so we won't notice the snubs.  Is it working?  Maybe if we saw a few more.  

One thing is for sure, this will be the prettiest Oscars ever!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The 83rd Oscar Nominations announced!

Well, they are finally here.   What I was waiting for: the Oscar nominations.  I took my time in posting them because I needed time to adjust to them, some of the nominations were welcome surprises but on the other hand, it's the same old Academy overlooking some very obvious talent.  Let's take a look at the nominees.

Best Motion Picture

127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King's Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter's Bone

My Take: All the usual suspects are here, Winter's Bone making the cut was a surprise but a welcome one.  The Town, The Ghost Writer and Shutter Island all missing the cut.  The King's Speech leads the pack with 12 nominations here and True Grit too has claimed a heap of nominations.  Don't count these two out.  Meanwhile early favorites, The Social Network and Inception are wondering, whatever happened to our momentum?  It's a race, alright.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem - Biutiful
Jeff Bridges - True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
Colin Firth - The King's Speech
James Franco - 127 Hours

My take: Julia Roberts pleaded for Javier Bardem to be recognized in the leading actor category and here he is.  Both he and Jeff Bridges are previous winners here and the rest have never won one before.  Colin Firth is the favorite now but Eisenberg has won a whole slew of critics awards while James Franco, also the Oscar host, is going to have an very good Oscar night.  There could be surprise winner in this category.  Big snubs? Leonardo Dicaprio was denied for two strong film roles in Shutter Island and Inception and Ryan Gosling failing to make it for Blue Valentine doesn't seem fair.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Michelle Williams - Blue Valentine

My take: Unfortunately, the other Oscar host, Anne Hathaway wasn't so lucky and missed out on a nomination for Love & Other Drugs but all these nominees were in contention for the Oscar.  Except for Jennifer Lawrence, they have been nominated before but only Kidman is a previous winner.  Annette Bening must be breathing a sigh of relief not to see Hilary Swank's name on the ballot.  She has lost out to her both times.  Ouch! But this time, she could well lose out to Natalie Portman who looks real solid for Black Swan.  Glad to see Michelle Williams sneak in a nomination for Blue Valentine.  Big snubs? Julianne Moore, who I thought, gave an equally fine performance in The Kids Are All Right.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Christian Bale - The Fighter
John Hawkes - Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner - The Town
Mark Ruffalo - The Kids are All Right
Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech

My take: This is the only category that seems to be a solid lock.  It's Christian Bale all the way.  The rest of the guys, well, congratulations on the nomination and better luck next year.  Good to see John Hawkes and Jeremy Renner score nominations.  Mark Ruffalo, I think you're going to win one of these sometime down the line.  Just you wait.  Big Snubs? A lot of people are surprised that Andrew Garfield did make it on the list.  I think he has more good performances in his future so I'm really not that disappointed.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams - The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter - The King's Speech
Melissa Leo - The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
Jacki Weaver - Animal Kingdom

My take: This category has always been a loose canon.  There are always surprises.  Every one's betting on Melissa Leo to win it but young Hailee Steinfeld and Jacki Weaver from the Australian drama Animal Kingdom, don't be shocked if they win.  It could totally happen.  This is the Academy, they sometimes do crazy things.   Big Snubs? Barbara Hershey and Mila Kunis from Black Swan.  Everyone was speculating who would make it on the list but instead neither did.  They both crossed each other off.

Best Achievement in Directing

Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen - True Grit
David Fincher - The Social Network
Tom Hooper - The King's Speech
David O. Russell - The Fighter

My take: Speaking of crazy, the one huge glaring omission in the names for best director: Christopher Nolan!  How is this make sense? How did the director of the biggest blockbusters last year and the one that audiences loved not get nominated? The nominees are the same as the Director's Guild except the Coen brothers took Nolan's spot.  I'm trying to get too upset about this but it's going to take a long time to digest this.  I'm taking solace in fact that this is pretty standard procedure meted out to good directors.  Steven Spielberg finally won his for Schindler's List after a long time.  Martin Scorsese, a freaking American legend in film, won only his first for Departed a few years ago and the biggest insult of all, Alfred Hitchcock never actually won one.  So, Nolan's in pretty good company.

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Mike Leigh - Another Year
Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington - The Fighter
Christopher Nolan - Inception
Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg - The Kids Are All Right
David Seidler - The King's Speech

My take:Another Year here, I thought it would definitely score some acting nominations.  I'm really pleased to see Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg here for The Kids Are All Right.

Best Writing, Screenplay based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy - 127 Hours
Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network
Michael Ardnt, John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich - Toy Story 3
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen - True Grit
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini - Winter's Bone

My take: Another solid lock here for Aaron Sorkin for his deft screenplay of The Social Network.  The Academy spread the True Grit love onto this category as well.  It's nice to see the screenplays of animated films making the cut here in recent years.  A testament of how much they are beginning to dominate the box-office more than their live action counterparts.

Best Animated Feature Film

How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

My take: Well, The Illusionist made it.  Both Tangled and Despicable Me, with considerable box-office success, could have snuck in here.  But the race is only between Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon.  Can Pixar continue to dominate?  I think so, but I honestly think How to Train Your Dragon might have a slight chance here.

Best Foreign Language Film 

Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
Civilization (Denmark)
Incendies (Canada)
Outside the Law (Algeria)

My Take: I only recognize two of the nominees here from Mexico and Canada's Incendies.  A lot of good movies were left off the list including France's Of Gods and Men and Thailand's Uncle Bonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives which won the big prize at Cannes.  Don't really know how they called this one.

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Matthew Libatique - Black Swan
Wally Pfister - Inception
Danny Cohen - The King's Speech
Jeff Conenweth - The Social Network
Roger Deakins - True Grit

My take: All of these movies are the real deal and it's natural that these cinematographers would be nominated.  If the Best Picture category was limited to five, I believe these would be the films that would make it.  That being said, previous winner Anthony Dod Mantle (Slumdog Millionaire) is a surprising omission for 127 Hours.

Best Achievement in Editing

Jon Harris - 127 Hours
Andrew Weisblum - Black Swan
Pamela Martin - The Fighter
Tariq Anwar - The King's Speech
Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall - The Social Network

My Take: My second disappointment for the nominations came in the form of no nomination for Lee Smith for Inception.  It's virtually impossible for Inception to win best picture without a director or editing nod.  It's just to appease the public, it seems.  I loved the clever editing on The Social Network and now that Inception isn't there, it's got a good shot.  But you can't count out, The King's Speech who clearly has the momentum here.  Glad to see a female representation with Pamela Martin for The Fighter here.

Best Achievement in Art Direction

Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara - Alice in Wonderland
Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillian - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat - Inception
Eve Stewart, Judy Farr - The King's Speech
Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh - True Grit

My take: I'd love for the gang over at the Harry Potter series to finally win an Oscar for all the hard work and attention to detail they've done over 8 films but this one is all Inception.  Or at least I hope.

Best Achievement in Costume Design

Colleen Atwood - Alice in Wonderland
Antonella Cannarozzi - I am Love
Jenny Beavan - The King's Speech
Sandy Powell - The Tempest
Mary Zophres - True Grit

My take: What? No love for all the spiffy suits the gang wore over in Inception? No? Ok, then.  This award usually goes to the one who designs the craziest and out there costumes.  Yes, we're all looking at you, Alice in Wonderland.

Best Achievement in Makeup

Adrien Morot - Barney's Version
Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng - The Way Back
Rick Baker, Dave Elsey - The Wolfman

My take: I feel bad for this category.  These films only exist for this category, one would have thought that Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti for Barney's Version or director Paul Weir of The Way Back could have had more success.  But, no, the makeup category it is.  To make matters worse, Rick Baker totally owns this category.  Sorry guys!!!

Best Achievement in Music Written for Music Pictures, Original Score

A. R. Rahman - 127 Hours
John Powell - How to Train Your Dragon
Hans Zimmer - Inception
Alexandre Desplat - The King's Speech
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross - The Social Network

My take: Honestly speaking, this is the only category I'm truly happy about.  3 of the nominees (Inception, How to Train Your Dragon, The Social Network) are already on repeat on my iPod.  I'm so happy to see A. R. Rehman as a return nominee for 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire was no fluke, my friends.  Will Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross breakthrough here for their very unusual approach to film soundtracks? We shall see.

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

A. R. Rahman, Rollo Armstrong, Dido - "If I Rise" from 127 Hours
Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges - "Coming Home" from Country Strong
Alan Menken, Glenn Slater - "I See the Light" from Tangled
Randy Newman - "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3

My take: I'm so glad that Burlesque didn't get nominated here that I'm happy for anyone else who made it here.  Imagine saying, Burlesque, Oscar nominee.  Yeah, I didn't think so.  A big hurray for "I See the Light" from Tangled.  I need to check out these other songs now.

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick - Inception
Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, John Midgley - The King's Speech
Jeffrey J. Haboush, William Sarokin, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell - Salt
Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten - The Social Network
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland - True Grit

My Take: Sound categories! I never pick them right.  So, good luck everyone and congrats on your nominations, you hard workers!

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing

Richard King - Inception
Tom Myers, Michael Silvers - Toy Story 3
Gwendolyn Yates Whitte, Addison Teague - TRON: Legacy 
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey - True Grit
Mark P. Stoeckinger - Unstoppable

My take: See above

Best Achievement in Visual Effects

Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips - Alice in Wonderland
Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, Nicolas Aithadi  - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell - Hereafter
Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin - Inception
Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick - Iron Man 2

My take: Big snubs here, TRON: Legacy and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  Great going, Academy, you really pissed off the nerds!  You gotta give them a reason to believe.  I honestly don't get why Iron Man 2 (seriously!) and Hereafter got the nods over the previous movies.  That being said, this category is Inception's to lose and yes, I will be gutted if they don't win.

Best Documentary Feature

Banksy, Jaimie D'Cruz - Exit Through the Gift Shop
Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic - GasLand
Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs - Inside Job
Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger - Restrepo
Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley - Waste Land

My take: I'm really surprised to see Waiting for Superman not to make the cut.  There was also a lot of buzz over the Joan Rivers documentary too.  The momentum's all to Inside Job now.

Best Documentary, Short Subject

Nominees TBD - Killing in the Name
Nominees TBD - Poster Girl
Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon - Strangers No More
Jennifer Redfearn, Tim Metzger - Sun Come Up
Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon - The Warriors of Qiuqang

Best Short Film, Animated

Teddy Newton - Day & Night
Jakob Schuh, Max Lang - The Gruffalo
Geefwee Boedoe - Let's Pollute
Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruheman - The Lost Thing
Bastien Dubois - Madagascar, a Journey Diary

Best Short Film, Live Action

Tanel Toom - The Confession
Michael Creagh - The Crush
Luke Matheny - God of Love
Ivan Goldschmidt - Na Wewe
Ian Barnes, Samantha Waite - Wish 143

Well, there they are.  I'll be talking more (trust me, you can't shut me up about the Oscars) in the weeks to come before the big night.  There will be more guild winners announced and a whole lot of speculation and guessing too.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Movie Review: Buried

The incredibly thrilling Buried is all about the ordeal faced by Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), a truck driver stationed in Iraq who is kidnapped and buried alive in a coffin.  All he has to keep him sane is a lighter, a cellphone and a torch for the entire length of the movie.  

You have to see this movie to believe it.  I think I watched the last half hour with my mouth hanging open, I had no clue what was going to happen next.  This film rests on the very capable shoulders of two men, Rodrigo Cortes, the director and editor, and Ryan Reynolds, showing some fine acting skills here.  He's not just a pretty face, you see.  It's extremely important because as a viewer, you become emotionally invested in what will happen to Paul.

It is very hard to place an entire film in a solitary location and especially such a confining area as a coffin underneath the earth.  There is no flashback, no parallel B-story of any other character and that's what adds to the realism of the story.  You are pulled into Paul's living nightmare and experience it alongside him.

Buried is a very fine American debut from Spanish director Cortes and it's a shame that it didn't get more recognition during awards season.  This one will stay with me for awhile and I look forward to Cortes' next venture.

Directed by Rodrigo Cortes; Written by Chris Sparling; Original Music by Victor Reyes; Cinematography by Eduard Grau; Edited by Rodrigo Cortes


Weekly News Roundup: Clint Eastwood is a busy man and the return of James Bond!

  • Clint Eastwood, at 70, isn't resting on his laurels.  His much anticipated Hoover biopic is already underproduction.  Leonardo DiCaprio tweeted about J. Edgar starting shooting on February 5th and they have a new cast member, Josh Lucas, who will be playing Charles Lindbergh.  Ed Westwick aka Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl also has a role of Agent Smith.
  • But that's not his only production.  Eastwood might possibly be directing Beyonce (!) in a remake of A Star is Born.  I honestly thought this was a joke at first.  Dirty Harry directing a musical?  But it's completely legit.  Let's give him a chance, right?
  • Dark Horizons has some new details from producer Tim Johnson on the upcoming sequel for How to Train Your Dragon and the TV series spin-off.   This means awesome adventures ahead for Hiccup and Toothless.
  • Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) is actually thinking of filming The Great Gatsby in 3D! The horror!! This is a very bad idea, very very bad idea.  
  • Bond is back! Don't count out James Bond out of the movie business yet.  The 23rd Bond flick is set to release on November 9th, 2012.  Sam Mendes is attached to direct.  The film could potentially be called "Red Sky at Night" and word is that, Rachel Weisz has been offered a role.    
  • Mike White exits Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as director.  Despite another setback, I am still stoked for this project to get off the ground.  Please Universe, we need for this movie to find its director along with Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy.   

New photos from the Muppets film!

Check out these adorable new photos from The Muppets movie starring Jason Segel aka Marshall from How I Met Your Mother!  Segel is with the new Muppet Walter making his debut in this film.  

But let's not forget old favorites like Kermit and Miss Piggy too.  I cannot wait for this film.  It's going to be amazing.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Countdown to Oscars: The Producer's Guild Awards Announced!

The Producer's Guild of America, which is one of the best indicators of who is in the race for Best Picture Oscar, has announced its annual awards.  The King's Speech scored an upset win over The Social Network for Best Picture.  That's huge.  It doesn't mean that The Social Network can't win but The King's Speech definitely has an edge now.  Toy Story 3 picked up Best Animated Feature while Waiting for Superman took the top honors for Best Documentary.  The Best Picture race just got more interesting.  Game on!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Movie Review: Tangled

Disney's 50th animated feature Tangled (what an incredible achievement!) doesn't disappoint.  It has all the requisite things that make it a typical Disney film: a strong female lead who knows what she wants, a hero who won't know what he wants until he meets the heroine, a cast of supporting characters who amuse and entertain us and music that will leaving you humming from the theater.  Honestly, what's not to love?

Tangled is the tale of Rapunzel (Mandy Moore), a princess stolen during infancy and kept locked away in a tower until the day a thief called Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) tries to hide in her tower and changes her life.  The lead characters, Rapunzel and Flynn are extremely likable.  Rapunzel, with her impossibly big eyes and that hair, is so giddy at being allowed to break all the rules because she wants to see what lights up the skies every year on her birthday.  Flynn has to take her to see lanterns because she holds hostage an item dear to him, the royal crown. 

Of course, it's not going to be as simple as that, though.  Fresh on their heels are Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), the woman who kidnapped Rapunzel all those years ago, the palace guards, and the Flynn's former partners.  And Mother Gothel is seriously bad, she only uses Rapunzel to keep herself young.  Obviously, you can guess what happens next.  Flynn and Rapunzel make it to see the lanterns in one of the most breathtaking parts of the whole film, the lake and the lanterns that float over it are absolutely gorgeous.  It had echoes from The Little Mermaid with Ariel and Prince Eric.   The song, "I See the Light" is typical Alan Menken and that's a good thing.  Who knew that Zachary Levi could sing so well?    

I mustn't forget Maximus the horse and Pascal the chameleon, the supporting characters and friends of our hero and heroine who thankfully do not talk but provide the necessary humor and love in the story.  The animation of Maximus was the best, it got the biggest laughs in the theater.  I loved this throwback to the old Disney princess tales of the 1990s and it would be a shame if it was the last of the Disney princess stories because I grew up watching these kind of animated tales and it is what Disney is most well known for.  

Directed by Nathan Greno and Bryan Howard; Screenplay by Dan Fogelman; Original Music by Alan Menken

Voice Talents of: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, M.C. Gainey, Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett, Paul F. Tompkins


Thursday, January 20, 2011

First Look: X Men: First Class Cast Photo

From left to right, then: Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, January Jones as Emma Frost, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, (AKA Nightcrawler’s dad), Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Lucas Till as Havok, Zoe Kravitz as Angel, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique and last, but certainly not least, James McAvoy as Professor Charles Xavier. 

I love the start of the new year, it's always filled with such promise.  Fresh of the heels of lots of new looks into this year's upcoming movies, we have the first look at X Men: First Class, the prequel story of Magneto and Prof. Charles Xavier.  It's due for release June 3, 2011.

Confirmed: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman and Tom Hardy as Bane

Looks like the Oscar gig is doing wonders for Anne Hathaway, a cameo on Glee and now this!  Warner Brothers just announced and it's also confirmed through Christopher Nolan that Hathaway will, in fact, be playing Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises and Tom Hardy who was previously confirmed for the film will be Bane.  I must say, I'm intrigued about the casting.  Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry have both had a chance to play the feline character and while people are still trying to forget Berry's version, it'll be interesting to see how Hathaway portrays this.  But knowing it's in Nolan's hands, I'm not that worried.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BAFTA nominations announced!

The British Academy Film Academy announced their nominations for 2011.  You can find the complete list below.  The awards will be revealed on February 13th, 2011 in London.                          

Best Film
Black Swan
The King's Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Outstanding British Film
127 Hours
Another Year
Four Lions
The King's Speech
Made in Dagenham

Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer
The Arbor Clio Barnard (Director), Tracy O'Riordan (Producer)
Exit Through the Gift Shop Banksy (Director), Jaimie D'Cruz (Producer)
Four Lions Chris Morris (Director/Writer)
Monsters Gareth Edwards (Director/Writer)
Skeletons Nick Whitfield (Director/Writer)

127 Hours Danny Boyle
Black Swan Darren Aronofsky
Inception Christopher Nolan
The King's Speech Tom Hooper
The Social Network David Fincher

The rest of the nominees after the cut...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Still from Deathly Hallows, Part 2

OMG, what happened to Neville? What did they do?  First glimpse at the Final Battle that is basically the entire Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.  You stay away from Neville, Bellatrix!!  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Golden Globes 2011 Winners!

So, who won the big prizes on Sunday night? The winners are listed below.

Best Motion Picture - Drama
The Social Network

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
The Kids Are All Right

Best Performance by An Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Colin Firth for The King's Speech

Best Performance by An Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Natalie Portman for Black Swan

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Paul Giamatti for Barney's Version

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Christian Bale for The Fighter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Melissa Leo for The Fighter

Best Director - Motion Picture
David Fincher for The Social Network

Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network

Best Original Song - Motion Picture
Diane Warren for "You Haven't Seen The Last of Me" from Burlesque

Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network

Best Animated Film
Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film
In a Better World from Denmark

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What the hell is Hangover 2 all about?

Oh. My. God!  Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover Part II, debuted a strange new photo on Facebook and the Interwebs has gone crazy trying to figure out: What does this mean?  What happened to Zach's hair? Ed Helms has a face tattoo? And let's talk about the monkey in the room! It's wearing a Rolling Stone jacket.  This movie is not going to disappoint.  Hilarious!

W Magazine's First Look at Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander

The second in my trio of new looks for actors in the series.  Well, it's January, time to debut and to an extent, tease, audiences on what is upcoming.  In this day of fast news and updates, it's never to early to start building up your audience.  Here it is, Rooney Mara (The Social Network) as Lisbeth Salander courtesy of W Magazine who got an exclusive with Mara and the director, David Fincher.   Very interesting read!  Those Social Network kids are sure doing well for themselves, aren't they?  I know all the focus is on Mara for this film but don't forget, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgaard and Robin Wright Penn are also in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Look: Andrew Garfield as Spiderman

Summer 2012 is a long way from today but here's a first look at Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker aka Spiderman.  I'll admit I was a bit skeptical when I first heard about Garfield being cast as Parker but after watching The Social Network, I'm more than convinced the kid's got the right stuff.  This is the way to reboot a franchise.  

Countdown to Oscars: The Critics Choice Awards

Yesterday, the Critic Choice awards took place in Los Angeles, California.   The awards are given out by the Broadcast Film Critics Association and it is high honor indeed to win one of these.  Here are the very lucky and I'm guessing very  happy winners.  It's all the usual suspects, The Social Network, The King's Speech, The Fighter with the acting awards and Inception with the technical ones.  I'm really happy to see Easy A recognized as Best Comedy and A.R. Rehman's music coming through for Best Song.  Way to go!

Best Picture: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Best Young Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Ensemble: The Fighter
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Best Original Screenplay: The King’s Speech
Best Foreign Language Film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Best Documentary Feature: Waiting for Superman
Best Animation: Toy Story 3
Best Comedy: Easy A
Best Picture Made for TV: The Pacific
Best Action Movie: Inception
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, Inception
Best Editing: Lee Smith, Inception
Best Art Direction: Inception
Best Visual Effects: Inception
Best Sound: Inception
Best Makeup: Alice in Wonderland
Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland
Best Song: 127 Hours, “If I Rise”
Best Score: The Social Network
The Joel Siegel Award: Matt Damon
The Music+Film Award: Quentin Tarantino

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Countdown to Oscars: Director's Guild Nominations Announced!


The five directors who will vie for the prestigious Director's Guild of America award are:

David O. Russell, The Fighter
Christopher Nolan, Inception
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network

Ian McKellan and Andy Serkis also confirmed for The Hobbit!

Ian McKellan will return as Gandalf and so will Andy Serkis as menacing Gollum in The Hobbit.  I hate to say it but maybe Guillermo Del Toro leaving The Hobbit wasn't such a bad thing.  Especially since this is becoming LotR: Part Deux, let's bring them all back.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Countdown to Oscars: Visual Effects Society Nominations

The Visual Effects Society announced its nominations for the best in VFX for the past year.  Inception leads the pack with four nominations.  Most of these films are still in the running for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.  
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual-Effects Driven Feature Motion Picture
Iron Man 2
TRON: Legacy
Alice In Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
Green Zone
Black Swan
Robin Hood
Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
How to Train Your Dragon
Toy Story 3
Shrek Forever After
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Chronicles Of Narnia: Voyage Of The Dawn Treader – Reepicheep
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – Dobby
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – Kreacher
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – Digger
How to Train Your Dragon – Toothless
Tangled – Rapunzel
Megamind – Minion
Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Shrek Forever After
How to Train Your Dragon
Toy Story 3
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Iron Man 2 – Stark Expo
TRON: Legacy – Disc Game
Inception – Paris Dreamscape
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Sand Room
Outstanding Models & Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture
Shutter Island – Ward-C Int./Ext. Lighthouse Int./Ext.
Iron Man 2 – Hammer Military Drones
The Expendables – The Palace Explodes
Inception – Hospital Fortress Destruction
Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
TRON: Legacy
Alice In Wonderland – Stolen Tarts
Hereafter – Tsunami Sequence
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