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

Monday, February 28, 2011

And the Oscar goes to...


Best Motion Picture
The King's Speech

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Colin Firth - The King's Speech

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Natalie Portman - Black Swan 

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale - The Fighter

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Melissa Leo - The Fighter

Best Achievement in Directing
Tom Hooper - The King's Speech

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
David Seidler - The King's Speech

Best Writing, Screenplay based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Aaron Sorkin - The Social Network

Best Animated Feature Film
Toy Story 3

Best Foreign Language Film 
In a Better World (Denmark)

Best Achievement in Cinematography
Wally Pfister - Inception

Best Achievement in Editing
Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall - The Social Network

Best Achievement in Art Direction
Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara - Alice in Wonderland

Best Achievement in Costume Design
Colleen Atwood - Alice in Wonderland 

Best Achievement in Makeup
Rick Baker, Dave Elsey - The Wolfman

Best Achievement in Music Written for Music Pictures, Original Score
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross - The Social Network

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Randy Newman - "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick - Inception

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Richard King - Inception

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin - Inception

Best Documentary Feature
Charles Ferguson, Audrey Mars - Inside Job

Best Documentary, Short Subject
Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon - Strangers No More

Best Short Film, Animated
Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruheman - The Lost Thing

Best Short Film, Live Action
Luke Matheny - God of Love

My Wrap-up Commentary:

(Pic: CBS News)

Another year, another Oscars! It started high for me but came crashing down fast as the major awards were being handed out.  How'd I do? I got 12 out of 24 nominations correct.  Small consolation.  The night's big winners for Best Picture and Best Director were The King's Speech and Tom Hooper.  Which is a shame as The Social Network and David Fincher deserved them.  Two visionaries directors like Fincher and Christopher Nolan were relegated to their seats and didn't get up to receive any award.  That is a tragedy.  

It didn't help matters that newbie hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway were jittery and and jumpy.   Franco seemed to have lost his mojo.  Dressing in drag! Really, James? How is that hip and edgy?  Anne, on the other hand, overcompensated for everything and her co-host by putting on a brighter smile for everything.  Stop those pearly whites!  When Billy Crystal (my personal favorite host) made a brief appearance to talk about Bob Hope, I pleaded to him through the TV to come back and host the remainder of the night.  I wish he had. *sigh*

The Academy spread the love around this time as Alice in Wonderland picked up two, Toy Story 3 at two as well, The Social Network stalled at 3 and surprise, surprise Inception and The King's Speech both tied at 4 each.  I should be glad that it wasn't a whole The King's Speech sweep.  That would have been embarrassing.

I'm really happy for Natalie Portman's win.  She gave a knockout performance in her very first film, The Professional.  If you haven't seen it as yet, you must! I think she has more great stuff in her forte yet.  Poor Annette Bening though.  She escaped 'The Hilary Swank' curse, as she wasn't nominated for Conviction to be beaten by another young actress.  She, like Joan Allen, needs to have already won by now.  

Christian Bale, Academy Award Winner.  And also Batman!  It's about time.  I'm glad they didn't hold his comic book/superhero connections against him.  He, like Portman, impressed in his very first acting role at 13 in Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun, my favorite Spielberg film.  Bale has one, we need to campaign for Chris Nolan to receive one too.  

Roger Deakins, I'm sorry you got shut out of yet another cinematography award but I'm so pleased to see the Oscar go to Wally Pfister for Inception.  One of the key reasons Nolan's films are so stunning.  Kudos!

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails has an Oscar!  This and the song category the Academy likes to reward new and something different.  I don't know why.  I personally have The Social Network soundtrack is on repeat on my iPod so I say, well done and well deserved.

Despite my frustrations with many of the picks (cough-The King's Speech-cough), the win for God of Love shows why movie and Oscar buffs watch the show is because of moments like this.  The genuine love and passion that the filmmakers have for making movies and the team spirit behind it.  The audience at the Kodak Theater was charmed by Luke Matheny too.  God of Love will be one short I'll definitely be looking out for.

While they did spread the it out, the major awards were all safe bets proving once again that the Academy likes to play it safe.  The last two years of awarding independent films with big heart have been erased.  Back to the safe and easy.  I, for one, am packing up on this year's Oscars and looking ahead to the next year.  We will have Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady and the mega collaboration of Peter Jackson's and Steven Spielberg's Tintin.  Here's to another year of good films.  

Memorable moments from the Oscars

  • Morgan Freeman narrates Alec Baldwin's dream.  Don't we all want him to narrate our dreams?
  • Justin Timberlake proclaiming, "I am Banksy."  I really want to know who he is.  I need to watch this documentary.
  • Mark Wahlberg is an Oscar nominee, a Golden Globe winner and nominee as producer for Broadwalk Empire and Entourage but he will never live down the nickname "Marky Mark" and nor will we let him.
  • Randy Newman's acceptance speech for calling it like it was.  You'll always be good television.
  • Seeing Billy Crystal.  Please come back and host another Oscars.  No one, and I mean, no one inserts themselves into the Best Picture nominees the way he does and he thought of it first.  
  • No one can take a joke at his expense better than Robert Downey Jr.  Watch and learn, Charlie Sheen!
  • More AutoTune the movies!!! That was hilarious.  More please...
  • And finally, it had been a long 5+ hours of non-stop Oscars coverage but seeing the PS22 Chorus perform, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" did thaw my cynical, bitter heart a bit.  Damn you, Oscars! I still care and oh, yeah, I'll be back next year.  As if I was going to go anywhere.  Before that, a mini-break from the blog!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar® Hosts go to Boot Camp

What are the Oscar hosts, James Franco and Anne Hathaway, up to in preparation? A lot, apparently. I want to go to Oscar boot camp.

My Oscar Picks 2011

(Pic: Greg Harbaugh/©AMPAS)

The day before Oscars!!! I'm always in a nervous state of excitement because you never know what's going to happen.  This is kind of like tradition with me.  I follow the Oscars every year and sometimes get quite emotionally invested in it.  The awards itself are a long tradition of Hollywood history and a showcase of the finest the film industry has to offer year after year.  Sometimes, the best may not win but it's the fight that counts.  Anyways, here are my picks for 2011.  Usually I just pick who will win...but I'm making two categories, will win and should win.  I have a feeling my picks are going to be blindsided this year.  I do well with my predictions but I don't want to pick the safe choice.  I'm going to be stubborn and go with what I think should win.  My personal picks are highlighted in yellow.  Here goes...

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

Will Win: All signs (DGA, PGA & SAG awards) point towards to The King's Speech, apparently the feel good film of the year.  I don't see it.
Should Win: The Social Network.  Or Inception.  Or even Toy Story 3.  How awesome would it be if an animated feature won the whole thing? It would go a long way to gaining a lot of respect for the animation industry.  I'm clearly hoping for an upset here.

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

Will Win: Colin Firth
Should Win:  Colin Firth.  He really should have won last year for A Single Man.  Although I must say James Franco and Jesse Eisenberg's performances in 127 Hours and The Social Network respectively are outstanding but the Academy never ever honor younger actors in a leading role.  Age bias?

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

Will Win: Natalie Portman
Should Win: Natalie Portman.  Though many Oscar pundits are predicting Annette Bening could pull an upset here.  Natalie has been strong all through awards season but that age bias thing I talked about earlier could be the only thing that harms here.

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

Will Win: Christian Bale
Should Win: Christian Bale.  I finally got around to watching The Fighter and as always I'm mesmerized how Bale manages to slip into the skin of his characters.  If they don't hold the fact that he's also Batman, Bale is a lock for this.  Possible upset? Previous lead actor winner Geoffrey Rush who won the BAFTA over Bale.  
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

Will Win: Helena Bonham Carter
Should Win: Hailee Steinfeld.  Logic says that Melissa Leo and Amy Adams split the vote for their film.  Jacki Weaver's nomination is the win.  So that leaves Bonham Carter and Steinfeld.  This is always the upset category.  Anyone could take it.

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

Will Win: Tom Hooper
Should Win: David Fincher.  Since Christopher Nolan wasn't even nominated, (yes, I'm still bitter over that!), Fincher's film is the best directed film out there.  Possible upset? I'd even be glad to see Darren Aronofsky take it.  Anybody but Hooper but he has the DGA backing him.  

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
Will Win: David Seidler
Should Win: Christopher Nolan.  I love Nolan's scripts, they are so very Hitchcock (one of my favorite directors) and they take you away to another world.  It would be a shame if it didn't win here.  

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

Will Win: Aaron Sorkin
Should Win: Aaron Sorkin.  If The Social Network doesn't at least win this one Oscar, I'm going to have stop making predictions.  This should be a lock.

Best Animated Feature Film

How To Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Will Win: Toy Story 3
Should Win: How to Train Your Dragon.  Don't get me wrong, I loved Toy Story 3.  I love Pixar but I felt we had seen this before.  Twice, in fact!  If TS3 wins, it will be for the trilogy but secretly my heart wants the little underdog to get it.  I loved How to Train Your Dragon.  I've seen it four times already this past year.

Best Foreign Language Film 

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

Will Win: Biutiful
Should Win: No clue! I have sadly not seen any one of these nominees.  But I have a feeling an upset could be possible here.  Out of these, I'm most interest in seeing Incendies.
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

Will win: Roger Deakins.  It's a shame that this veteran cinematographer has never won an Oscar previously.
Should win: Wally Pfister.  The man responsible for creating the dreamlike worlds of Inception deserves some recognition too. He did win the ASC award.  This could be a possible upset.  I hope.

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

Will Win: Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall.
Should Win: Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall.  The King's Speech is another possible upset here too, Tariq Anwar has been around for a long time.  But I must say, I was very impressed with 127 Hours too, that's a lot of footage and many different angles to convey to the viewer and it neatly handled.  

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

Will Win: Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara
Should Win: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat.  It's not easy creating a world within a dreamworld within a dreamworld but the team behind Inception pulled it off.  That being said, I think Alice in Wonderland will probably win this one.
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

Will Win: Colleen Atwood
Should Win: Colleen Atwood.  Tim Burton's films wouldn't be what they are without the costumes, this one should be easy.  
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

WIll Win: Rick Backer, Dave Elsey
Should Win: Rick Baker, Dave Elsey.  Rick Baker is the make-up guru of Hollywood; it's best not to bet against him.
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

Will Win: Alexandre Desplat
Should Win: John Powell or Hans Zimmer.  I debated a lot about this category.  I feel honestly that Powell's score for HTTYD and Zimmer's score for Inception are the emotional core of their respective films.  Without them, they are bare.  I'd want either one of them to win.  In fact, Powell recently won the Film Score of the Year at the International Film Music Critics Association.  Could that bode well for Oscar?

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

Will Win: We Belong Together
Should Win: I See the Light.  Yes, this song is sappy and yes, I like it.  
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

Will Win:Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten
Should Win: Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten.  It's not easy mixing audio from 99 takes of one scene.  They deserve it.  
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

Will Win: Richard King
Should Win: Richard King.  Dreamworld within a dreamworld within a dreamworld.  You do the math.
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

Will Win: Inception
Should Win: Inception.  If Inception doesn't win, I will throw a tantrum.  Yes, I said it out loud.  
Best Documentary Feature

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

Will Win: Inside Job.  Very eye-opening documentary that made me sad and mad at the same time.
Should Win: Exit Through the Gift Shop.  If only to figure out, who is Banksy?  In fact, anyone of these nominees richly deserve it for their honest look at the world.

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

I'm not sure, it's just a guess at this point.  My guess highlighted above.
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

Will Win: Day & Night.  I loved the traditional 2D meets 3D of this animated short and the message behind it. 
Should Win: Day & Night.
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

Another guess, I'm going to go with Wish 143.

So those were my Oscar picks for 2011, I'll be back tomorrow with the winners and my wrap-up commentary.  I hope this year doesn't disappoint.  Let's have a good time and may the best film win.  I'm going to be up bright and early to watch and live-tweet because it's so much fun.  Enjoy the Oscars everyone!

The 26th Independent Spirit Awards announced!

I can't believe it.  It seemed like yesterday that I was excited about the start of awards season and here we are at the very end.  Today is the turn of the anti-Oscars, The Independent Spirit Awards which honors the best of independent and small films that normally don't get noticed by Oscars.  There are few names that you will find on the Oscar ballot too.  In recent years, there are many names that are beginning to overlap.  Now, onto the winners!

(Pics: Thanks to Just Jared/Indiewire)

BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer)
Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
Get Low
(Given to the best feature made for under $500,000; award given to the writer, director, and producer)
Daddy Longlegs
Stuart Blumberg, Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right
Lena Dunham, Tiny Furniture
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
James Franco, 127 Hours
Dale Dickey, Winter’s Bone
John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone
Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director)
Exit Through The Gift Shop
BEST FOREIGN FILM (Award given to the director)
The King’s Speech
(Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Please Give
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Casting Director: Jeanne McCarthy
Ensemble Cast: Ann Guilbert, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener, Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Lois Smith, Sara Steele
Anish Savjani, Meek’s Cutoff
Mike Ott, Littlerock
Jeff Malmberg, Marwencol

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Trailer Time: Arthur, Bridesmaids, Something Borrowed, Hop and The Hangover Part II

First look at the trailer for the 1981 remake of Dudley Moore's Arthur. This time around the man-child heir to a billion dollar empire is played by comedian Russell Brand. Also with him in the film are Helen Mirren as his nanny/caretaker, Jennifer Garner as the heiress he's supposed to marry and Greta Gerwig as the woman he falls in love with. The trailer was quite amusing and I hope this movie does not disappoint. It has the starcast to succeed.

From producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig comes Bridesmaids a complete comedy aimed at women. Did I hear that right? The guys behind Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express and Forgetting Sarah Marshall are actually making women the focus of the film. Written and starring Kirsten Wiig (SNL), the film is about the members of bridal party who get together for the bride's (Maya Rudolph) wedding. This has great comic pedigree, I'm really looking forward to this.

Based on the book by Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed takes a look at the friendship of best friends Darcy (Kate Hudson) and Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin). As evident from the trailer, what happens when the good friend starts to have feelings for her best friend's fiance? Typical rom-com which Hudson is known for. Colin Egglesfield and John Krasinski are also part of the cast.

Another Russell Brand feature except this time, he's the Easter Bunny. No, really! From the studio that brought Despicable Me, Hop shows how E.B (short for the Easter Bunny) doesn't really want to fulfill his destiny but instead just wants to play the drums. While trying to make it in Hollywood, he runs into Fred (James Marsden) and Samantha (Kaley Cuoco). This looks great, very funny. E.B is adorable.

And finally, the movie sequel we all have been waiting for, The Hangover Part II. They were outrageous the first time around. What will they do next? The whole gang is back but this time the action has moved to Bangkok, Thailand. We now know there's a monkey involved somehow and Ed Helms get a face tattoo. I can't wait to see this film.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For Your Consideration

Today is the last day for the ballots to vote for Oscar and since this is my blog, I'm going to make a case for the films that I loved over the past year.  This will make absolutely no difference to the Oscars being held on Sunday, but I'd like to believe they will.  Humor me! Without further ado, here are a few films that deserve the big prize:

How To Train Your Dragon


The Social Network


Monday, February 21, 2011

ACE Awards Presented: The Social Network is back!

Best Edited Feature, Drama: The Social Network (Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter)
Best Edited Feature Comedy/Musical: Alice in Wonderland (Chris Lebenzon)
Best Edited Animated Feature: Toy Story 3 (Ken Schretzmann and Lee Unkrich)
Best Edited Documentary : Exit Through the Gift Shop (Tom Fulford and Chris King) 

I don't know what to say!  This is looking good.  The Social Network won big at the American Cinema Editor (ACE) Eddie Awards winning the one that usually points to Best Picture.  One week to go to Oscar and all signs DO NOT point to a The King's Speech sweep.  There could be a race after all.  

Also honored at the event was Christopher Nolan who received the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year award (Yes!) and longtime editor of Steven Spielberg, Michael Kahn was presented a Career Achievement award by Spielberg.  Great stuff.  Congratulations to all the winners!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Around the World in Posters: One Day, Arthur and The Conspirator

Cool poster for Rio's Angry Birds App for iPhone. Neat marketing idea!

First Poster for the upcoming Arthur remake.  Looks hilarious.

Robert Redford's back in the directing chair for this drama, The Conspirator.

Girl Assassin, Hanna, is watching you!

First The Godfather, now The Brady Bunch.  What will they spoof next?

Lovely first poster of the book adaptation of One Day with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.  I still have yet to finish it!  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Spiderman Prequel finally gets a title!

I don't have to call or type Spiderman Prequel/Reboot anymore.  The film finally has a title! Thank God!  On July 3, 2012, (a day before my birthday), I'm finally going to see The Amazing Spider-man.  What do we think about the title? Very comic bookish, an apparent nod to the early days of Peter Parker.  I like it and I now have a name to type.  We also get an official still of the Amazing Spider-man in action.  I see you've been working on those muscles, Andrew!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wally Pfister wins the ASC award for Inception!

Wally Pfister won the American Society of Cinematographer's (ASC) Award in the Feature Film Category for Inception.

Another legend in cinematographers, Roger Deakins, a frequent collaborater with the Coen brothers and who is also nominated for True Grit, was presented with the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award and has been nominated 10 times for the ASC honors.

Pfister is Christopher Nolan's longtime D.P. and has worked with him on every film he directed and it's so nice to see him recognized.  Hallelujah! Could the tide be turning a bit?  Two weeks to go until Oscar.  

Movie Review: The King's Speech

I decided once the ten Best Picture nominees for Oscar were announced that I would try my best to watch them all.  The count is now at 6 with 4 films remaining.  But the one with the biggest buzz right now is The King's Speech which has quickly supplanted the critics' darling The Social Network as the new frontrunner.

So naturally, I had to see the movie to find out what all the fuss was about.  The film is well-acted and yes, emotional but I wasn't moved to applause as most people are claiming they were.  I'm surprised that a period film about the British royal family is somehow more popular than a film about young American entrepreneurs and social networking to which much of America and the world is devoted.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate the film, I'm not that impressed as everyone is.  Colin Firth, as Prince Albert "Bertie", second in line to the throne, hides and masks the pain he goes through of a stammer and the nervousness of public speaking.  But due to the emergence of the new media of radio at the time, he must fulfill his duty.  On the other end, Bertie's older brother and heir to the throne, Edward, chafes at having to fulfill his duty and wishes to marry his love, an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.  Bertie, then, knows what he must do.  He must step up and be the man to lead a country on the brink of war.

Of course, he is not alone in this.  His extremely supportive wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham-Carter), helps find a speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who changes the way he approaches his speech impediment.  The film rests on Firth's shoulders and it is because you see how endearing a character he is and how he struggles with the difficult decisions handed down to him due to his station of birth.  He eventually handles it all like a true royal and that is what makes the film tick.  The warm affection shared between husband and wife and the friendship between Logue and Bertie is the key to the film.

I do still think that The Social Network and Inception are better directed but unfortunately the witticisms and the originality of these films hasn't received the recognition it deserves and will be passed over in favor of the The King's Speech.  It is a real shame because The King's Speech is a very good film, just not a great one and certainly not the best film in 2010.  But it is something I'll have to get used to but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Directed by Tom Hooper; Written by David Seidler; Cinematography by Danny Cohen; Music by Alexandre Desplat

Additional cast: Derek Jacobi, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Ehle, Claire Boom, Eve Best


The King's Speech Rules at the BAFTAs!

As very much expected, at the very British awards BAFTAs, a very British film about a royal overcoming a stammer, The King's Speechtook home most of the night's big prizes.  But it couldn't take home Best Director, David Fincher for The Social Network managed to beat out Tom Hooper for that.  Yeah!  Inception won 3 of the technical awards for Special Visual Effects, Sound and Production Design.  And big honors also went to the Harry Potter series and J.K. Rowling for their outstanding contribution to British cinema and veteran actor Christopher Lee was granted the British Academy's Fellowship.  Surprise of the night, The Orange Wednesday's Rising Star award was Tom Hardy, the night's only absentee.  Gemma Arterton, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield and Aaron Johnson all attended but didn't win it.  Awkward!

THE KING’S SPEECH - Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
COLIN FIRTH - The King’s Speech
GEOFFREY RUSH - The King’s Speech
TOY STORY 3 - Lee Unkrich
THE KING’S SPEECH - David Seidler
THE KING’S SPEECH - Tom Hooper, David Seidler, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO - Søren Stærmose, Niels Arden Oplev
FOUR LIONS - Chris Morris (Director/Writer)
TRUE GRIT - Roger Deakins
INCEPTION - Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Doug Mowat
THE SOCIAL NETWORK - Angus Wall, Kirk Baxter
INCEPTION - Richard King, Lora Hirschberg, Gary A Rizzo, Ed Novick
INCEPTION - Chris Corbould, Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb
THE KING’S SPEECH - Alexandre Desplat
ALICE IN WONDERLAND - Valli O'Reilly, Paul Gooch
THE EAGLEMAN STAG - Michael Please
UNTIL THE RIVER RUNS RED - Paul Wright, Poss Kondeatis

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