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

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: The Year in Review

Personally, I didn't end watching more films this year than I did last year and I need to remedy that next year.  But on the other hand, I found myself going back to the theater to watch more films which is always great. This is the ultimate way that film needs to be viewed and enjoyed.  And I always have a surge of films that I watch in December to hastily make up for the whole year.  Here's a recap of what I thought was the best and worst of this past year.


Captain America. Iron Man. Thor. Black Widow. Hawkeye. The Hulk.  Put them all together and what do you get? Marvel's The Avengers, easily the most enjoyable film of 2012 in the theaters.  Add a delicious villain Loki played by Tom Hiddleston and this was the most fun I had in the theater with fans who were cheering on the superheroes and superwoman's every move.  There better be a stellar Hulk movie after this, as this film has left us wanting more of the angry green fellow as enacted by Mark Ruffalo.

Harry, Edward, move over! Katniss Everdeen is new name on everyone's lips.  She's smart, feisty and fiercely loyal to her family and friends.  Did I forget to mention she's a badass with a bow and an arrow?  The Hunger Games was the hit Lionsgate knew they had in the bag and Jennifer Lawrence proved she's now a A-list player with a $300 million haul at the box-office.  If the rest of the series is as good as the first film was, they'll have no trouble doubling that amount.

The movie I kept recommending to everyone I met.  Everyone has a different reaction to it and how many movies can you say provoke a reaction so strong in their like or dislike.  One of the finest subjects to come out of Iran, it is a movie that must be seen.  A Separation is my pick for Best Foreign Film of 2012.

The first Pixar princess came to us via Scotland in an emotional story of a young headstrong royal and her relationship with her mother who just wants her to adhere to tradition.   Brave is stunning to look at with gorgeous colors of the Highland moors but at the core, the story is about a mother-daughter trying to see eye to eye.  A small step forward and please let's see more of female-oriented projects coming out of Pixar.

This really was the year of Channing Tatum.  He was everywhere and his collaborations with Steven Soderbergh proved particularly fruitful.  But 21 Jump Street was a collaboration with Jonah Hill and a remake of the popular late 80s TV show which turned out to be surprisingly funny and touching.  Tatum's performance especially stood out for me and even felt funnier than Hill's.  This crazy buddy comedy actually brought the laughs when so many comedies failed to stand out.

While I'd watch Judi Dench in absolutely anything, she practically shines and steals the show in this charming look at the lives of British senior citizens who relocate to India.  The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, superbly handled by director John Madden, gave these characters wonderful stories and the backdrop of India, for once, didn't just stoop to cliches but incorporated it as part of the overall story.  I can't wait for the sequel.

The best time-travel movie I've seen and one of the better screenplays of this past year by writer-director Rian Johnson that involves the audiences into caring deeply about the characters onscreen and the consequences of the hard choices they are forced to make.  Looper also has three fantastic performances by the leads, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis (playing versions of the same characters) and Emily Blunt.  You won't forget young Pierce Gagnon's striking rendition in a hurry as well.

Okay, I'll admit it. There were moments where I did cover my eyes but overall this movie took the expectations from audiences and flipped them over and then some.  Five young unsuspecting college students head over to The Cabin in the Woods and then all hell breaks loose literally.  From the brainchild of co-writers Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, this was a new horror classic with a comedic twist that even a scaredy cat like myself could endure.
In an interview in The Guardian, director Sam Mendes said he did the film 'to shock and wake' himself up.  What Skyfall has done has shock and wake up the Bond franchise all over again.  It was a clever yet nostalgic look at the past with some dark undertones and it set up the next couple of films up splendidly.  I will miss a certain character dreadfully but am looking ahead to the new additions to the team.  Welcome aboard!
Intouchables has many critics, yes, but it's hard to ignore the extremely winning performances from Omar Sy and Francois Cluzet in the most unlikeliest of friendships between a quadriplegic and his caregiver.  The second most successful French film to date, Intouchables will touch hearts and make you smile at the same time.

I'm so glad I held my "stock" in Ben Affleck and continued to remain a fan.  There were many who wrote off his acting career when his films weren't doing so well.  But he recouped well and came back strong as a writer-director with Gone Baby Gone and The TownArgo tops both of those by a mile.  A taut and thrilling tale of the rescue of six American embassy workers from Iran in 1979 during the hostage crisis, the film represents what Hollywood does best both in the tale and its recreation of one of history's lost tales.  One of the few times in the theater that everyone was literally on the edge of their seats to see if the hostages made it out of Iran. 

Out of all the films of the past year, I could say I'm the most fondest of Damsels in Distress as you would of any new friend you meet.  I loved this film so much with its most delightful dialogues and the most colorful and quirky characters that I've encountered all year.  This one I'd watch again and again. Plus, I have a feeling you might want to incorporate The Sambola! The International Dance Craze into your next party.  Greta Gerwig as the equally quirky and adorable Violet Wister was one of my favorite characters of the year.

In Bernie, Jack Black gives one of the best performances of his career and is so likable as the town's can-do man trying to see the best in everyone.  No one, including the viewers, can believe it when he goes off and commits a heinous crime.   The film combines testimonies from the townspeople of Carthage where the real Bernie Tiede lived.  You won't believe the twists and turns that take place in this tale.  I'm so pleased that the cast is getting some awards recognition.  This was a highly underrated film of the past year. 

 With Life of Pi, Ang Lee proved why he's one of the best directors in the business blending 3D technology with emotional storytelling in a way no one has done before.  A tale of shipwrecked Indian boy with only a Bengal tiger for company is deeply moving and visually stunning.  You too will feel as if you've experienced Pi's life-changing journey with him.  And Life of Pi's Richard Parker stays with you long after you leave the theater, a CGI marvel indeed.  This is a film I can watch again and again. 

The last five years or so, it seemed that I stopped watching Hindi movies altogether.  But every once in a while there are movies that make me remember why I loved them so in the first place.  English Vinglish, Sridevi's comeback to Indian cinema after 15 years, was a small and delightful tale of a housewife's right to do something for herself.  Sridevi was of course utterly charming and I really enjoyed the relationship portrayed onscreen with her niece (Priya Anand).  Don't miss this if you get a chance.

The other Hindi film which stood out for me this past year was Shanghai which dealt with weightier issues than the previous recommendation. Based on a novel by Vassilis Vassilikos, Z, it shares a similar storyline as Z (1969), the Academy Award winner for Foreign Film.  But as powerful the story is, the actors make their mark and make it all come together.  I was much impressed by Emraan Hashmi and Abhay Deol who both took on roles dissimilar to their images.  I hope we see more of this kind of intelligent cinema in India.

Weekend, a small British film directed by Andrew Haigh, is the best romantic film I've seen all year.  It's rooted in reality and all the insecurities one brings into a new relationship.  Over the course of an eventful weekend in the lives of Russell (Tom Cullen) and Glen (Chris New), the film deals with their hopes and dreams for themselves and for each other.  This glimpse into their lives is so honest and raw; you won't find emotion like this elsewhere.  It's out now on Criterion DVD release so do catch it if you can. 

Steven Spielberg's grand Lincoln biopic which we've been hearing about for years and years lives up to every expectation.  This is how you make a film.  Set in the last months leading to up the passing of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery, Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln is indescribable.  You have to see it yourself to see how he disappears into the 16th president of the United States, a man who is hunched over with all that is expected of him.  The rest of the cast, including Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, are all commendable in their supporting roles.  I must say this is the first time in a Spielberg film that I haven't paid attention to John Williams' sweeping score as I was so lost in the film and its masterful dialogue. 

Supermen of Malegaon reminds you of the joy of making a film because of a crazy passionate urge to do so.  This documentary had such heart about a boisterous community in Malegaon who really, really love their movies.   The sight of the skinny Superman with his drawstrings on his red shorts is one I'll never forget. 

I can't believe that Beasts of the Southern Wild is Benh Zeitlin's first film.  It has such a strong voice in its narrative, characters and themes.  An impressive debut with breakthrough performances by Quvenzhane Wallis as the uniquely named Hushpuppy and Dwight Henry as her father Wink.  Both of them had never acted before this film. I'm so pleased that this film is getting the recognition and showing up on many of the critics' best of lists.  I also hope it wins some major awards as well.  Fingers crossed!

James Franco declared his love for The Perks of Being a Wallflower in Entertainment Weekly and I second his sentiments.  I had a good cry after watching this film because it was just so beautifully made with great love for the material on hand.  It helps that the Stephen Chbosky is adapting and directing from his own book.  The young cast of Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and especially Ezra Miller will break your hearts and make you wish that you too could be a part of their group of 'psychos'.  Yet another underrated film of the year. 

And finally, I've saved the best for last.  Christopher Nolan's end of the Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, was a tour de force. One of the handful of filmmakers along with Spielberg still working on film, Nolan makes movies that deserve only to be seen in the theater.  The Dark Knight Rises was incredibly satisfying, introducing new and intriguing characters yet giving closures to those we've grown to love for years now.  His universe seems real and its problems very contemporary.  I was saddened that it had to end but I loved the ride it took us on. 


London Boulevard: Colin Farrell is a good actor who gets lost in roles that aren't meant for him.  In London Boulevard, he's spot on as a recently released convict who becomes a bodyguard for a reclusive movie actress (Keira Knightley) dealing with her own demons.  This dark London noir was difficult to stomach and contains great performances from its talented cast of Ray Winstone, David Thewlis, Anna Friel and Ben Chaplin.

Haywire: I thoroughly enjoyed Gina Carano's tough talking and butt-kicking Mallory Kane who truly was the star of this entertaining flick that reduced its appealing and A-list male actors to supporting roles.  Please don't retire, Steven Soderbergh, and much more where this and Magic Mike came from!

Pitch Perfect: Who knew that the college a cappella scene could be this enjoyable? The Barton Bellas, lead by Beca (Anna Kendrick who has an amazing voice) and her mates Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), Aubrey (Anna Camp) and Chloe (Brittany Snow) shows us what a bit of teamwork and loosening up can get you.  The highlight of the film was Rebel Wilson who can crack me up with just a slight expression on her face.  I knew I was going to like this film the minute the Universal Studio logo came on with the theme sung in a cappella.

Margaret: This long-delayed project of Kenneth Lonergan was completely worth the wait.  A frustrating (in a good way) yet deeply insightful look into the turmoil a teenage girl (Anna Paquin) after being a part of road accident that claims the life of an innocent bystander.  Whatever it is, you will have a strong reaction to this film. 

Arbitrage: Even when he is committing fraud and dodging the police, Richard Gere's Robert Miller remains sympathethic towards the audience.  Not an easy feat to do but he manages to do so in one of his finest performances yet.  At 63, he's still got it. 

Ted: (in Barney Stinton's voice) Have you met Ted? The tiny teddy was part of the only other comedy that delivered big laughs. As the slacker best friend with good intentions, Ted had a knack for finding himself in dire situations for him and his friend John (Mark Wahlberg).  This oddly charming flick was hard to resist.


Here's a wedding that I didn't look forward to attending.  Which is a shame because the subject had such potential and I felt it was such a disservice to this highly likable cast.  Let's pretend this movie never happened for them.

Not even a strong cast of Glenn Close, Janet McTeer, Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnson could save this dreary movie. Albert Nobbs, a sympathetic character, can't escape the machinations of the people that inhabit Morrison's Hotel.  I know Close was nominated for an Best Actress Oscar but I just wasn't feeling this film and wanted to move far away from its depressing vibes. 

I'm usually drawn to historical and therefore love period films.  But even I could not take even a single more minute of The Three Musketeers all of whom were miscast and spoke with all different accents. Why?  And what the hell was Orlando Bloom even doing in this film?  Logan Lerman who was so endearing in The Perks of Being a Wallflower was completely not right for the part here.  Skip the movie and reach for Alexandre Dumas' original novel instead.  It'll be much better with your own imagination.  Trust me!

I could never have predicted that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen would get a Gloden Globe nomination for Best Comedy/Musical.  The story of the very British Dr. Jones (Ewan McGregor) who assists a Yemeni sheik to bring salmon fishing to the region was as uptight as McGregor's character. I was bored to tears in the film.  This is not the feel-good flick I was promised.

Even going back in time was not going to save Men in Black 3.  It really felt as an end of era when a Will Smith film is no longer must see at the theaters.  Which is a shame because the original Men in Black was hilarious and fresh.  And now it just seems the franchise was dragged up again only to make so more moolah.  However, Josh Brolin does a great Tommy Lee Jones impression. 

I can't believe I actually sat through One for the Money. Everything was terrible, the plot, the fake Jersey accents and especially Katherine Heigl's dark hair. This film just annoyed me.  Avoid this one at all costs!

I was wrong, I thought I could watch Tom Hardy in virtually anything.  It turns out I have limits when it comes to really bad films. In This Means War, Tom Hardy's Tuck and Chris Pine's FDR, CIA agents and BFFs, fight over the new woman in their lives, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon).  Nothing in this film was plausible and it was truly embarrassing watching these good actors reduced to mouthing such trite dialogues. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Movie Review: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Once upon a time, there lived a girl named Hushpuppy with her daddy in the Bathtub and this is her story.  Beasts of the Southern Wild is a wondrous and moving tale of a little community off of Louisiana that tries to band together in the wake of a apocalyptic storm that threatens their way of living.  This first time feature by director Benh Zeitlin will stay with you long after the end credits roll.

Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a young girl like no other.  She's clever, curious and has these eyes that seem so much older than the six years she's lived on the planet.  She knows much of the universe and how she fits into it but still is in search of that 'something' that's missing from her life.  Her father Wink (Dwight Henry) seems uncaring and drinks too much but at heart, he wants to do right by his daughter and that she knows how to survive for herself. 

You can't really say much about this film but it's something that needs to experienced and felt.  Hushpuppy as a character reminded so much of the young strong females of the Miyazaki universe especially with her stare down with the beasts that stepped right out of the Bathtub universe and mythology.  Her fierce nature leaps off the screen and embeds itself in you. This mainly due to little Wallis, in the finest, truest performance I have seen in a young actor ever. 

The characters, the ramshackle group that makes up the community that decides to stay back and brave the storm, are incredibly lively and very loyal towards one another.  The scenario that they find themselves in after the water rises and the animals start dying is utterly heartbreaking.  And yet the people of the Bathtub persevere and refuse to leave the land.

This is a film to be experienced personally and the best thing about the film is that it will mean different things to different people. But we all will know the story of Hushpuppy, the boldest, brightest star to shine through in the wilds of the Bathtub.

Directed by Benh Zeitlin; Screenplay by Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin; Based on the play 'Juicy and Delicious' by Lucy Alibar; Cinematography by Ben Richardson; Editing by Crockett Doob and Alfonso Goncalves; Music by Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin


70th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Video

Two of the funniest women in showbiz, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, show us a sneak peek of the Golden Globes if they both spoke in classical Hollywood voices.  They've totally nailed the accents! 
Both of them are up against each other in the Best Actress category in a television comedy and I can't wait to see how that turns out, will it be like the Emmys when all them turned it into their own version of a pageant?  The Golden Globes will air on January 13, 2013. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Golden Globe 2013 nominations!

The Golden Globe nominations were announced today and it looks like Django Unchained, Lincoln, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty are leading the pack with nominations in acting as well as screenplay, director and best picture.  The HFPA also have two separate categories for Drama and Comedy so the nominations get spread out.  Though I also feel bad for the supporting actor/actress categories, it's drama and comedy both thrown in together and it usually is the drama actors and actresses that have the upper hand.  

What I'm glad to see is five solid choices for Best Drama Motion Picture that spills into director and screenplay as well.  But what is Salmon Fishing in the Yemen doing in the Best Comedy category? I really thought the film was disappointing and not a great showcase for the actors in it.  

I'm delighted to see the recognition for Judi Dench in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Jack Black in Bernie.  Both of them shone in their respective films.  Somebody really does like Maggie Smith a whole lot, she's got both the TV and the film nominations to prove it.  

But as always, the Golden Globes are remembered more for the party and the impromptu moments that occur onstage and off then the actual awards themselves.  This year is Cecile B. de Mille Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Jodie Foster.  Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint, will be Miss Golden Globe 2013 and of course Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (both nominees for Best Actress -  Comedy for Television) will host the 70th awards show on January 13th, 2013, only 3 days after the Oscar nominations are announced.  

Best Motion Picture - Drama
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Silver Linings Playbook

Best Director
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Best Screenplay 
Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
Chris Terrio, Argo

Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Ewan McGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson

Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Maggie Smith, Quartet
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs

Best Animated Feature
Hotel Transylvania
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Foreign Language Film
Amour (Austria)
A Royal Affair (Denmark)
The Intouchables (France)
Kon-Tiki (Norway/UK/Denmark)
Rust and Bone (France)

Best Performance By An Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy

Best Performance By An Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Alan Arkin, Argo
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Original Score 
Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil, Cloud Atlas
John Williams, Lincoln

Best Original Song
For You, Act of Valor - Music by: Monty Powell, Keith Urban Lyrics by: Monty Powell, Keith Urban
Not Running Anymore, Stand Up Guys - Music by: Jon Bon Jovi Lyrics by: Jon Bon Jovi
Safe & Sound, The Hunger Games - Music by: Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams, T Bone Burnett Lyrics by: Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams, T Bone Burnett
Skyfall, Skyfall - Music by: Adele, Paul Epworth Lyrics by: Adele, Paul Epworth
Suddenly, Les Miserables - Music by: Claude-Michel Schonberg Lyrics by: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg

Broadcast Film Critics nominees announced!

Now this is more like it.  The Broadcast Film Critics Association also announced their nominations for the best films of 2012 and I find myself nodding along at many of their choices.  And thank God for the separate categories so that good work done even in a 'sic-fi' or 'action' film can be recognized.  I can't wait to tune in and see what happens when the winners are announced on will air on January 10, 2012 which also happens to be the date when the Oscar nominations are announced.  Go figure!


Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
Life of Pi
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
Hugh Jackman – “Les Misérables”
Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”
Denzel Washington – “Flight”

Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
Marion Cotillard – “Rust and Bone”
Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”
Quvenzhané Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”

Alan Arkin – “Argo”
Javier Bardem – “Skyfall”
Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike”

Amy Adams – “The Master”
Judi Dench – “Skyfall”
Ann Dowd – “Compliance”
Sally Field – “Lincoln”
Anne Hathaway – “Les Misérables”
Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”

Elle Fanning – “Ginger & Rosa”
Kara Hayward – “Moonrise Kingdom”
Tom Holland – “The Impossible”
Logan Lerman – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Suraj Sharma – “Life of Pi”
Quvenzhané Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Misérables
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook

Ben Affleck – “Argo”
Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
Tom Hooper – “Les Misérables”
Ang Lee – “Life of Pi”
David O. Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”

Quentin Tarantino – “Django Unchained”
John Gatins – “Flight”
Rian Johnson – “Looper”
Paul Thomas Anderson – “The Master”
Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola – “Moonrise Kingdom”
Mark Boal – “Zero Dark Thirty”

Chris Terrio – “Argo”
David Magee – “Life of Pi”
Tony Kushner – “Lincoln”
Stephen Chbosky – “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
David O. Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”

“Les Misérables” – Danny Cohen
“Life of Pi” – Claudio Miranda
“Lincoln” – Janusz Kaminski
“The Master” – Mihai Malaimare Jr.
“Skyfall” – Roger Deakins

“Anna Karenina” – Sarah Greenwood/Production Designer; Katie Spencer/Set Decorator
“The Hobbit” – Dan Hennah/Production Designer; Ra Vincent & Simon Bright/Set Decorators
“Les Misérables” – Eve Stewart/Production Designer; Anna Lynch-Robinson/Set Decorator
“Life of Pi” – David Gropman/Production Designer; Anna Pinnock/Set Decorator
“Lincoln” – Rick Carter/Production Designer; Jim Erickson/Set Decorator

“Argo” – William Goldenberg
“Les Misérables” – Melanie Ann Oliver and Chris Dickens
“Life of Pi” – Tim Squyres
“Lincoln” – Michael Kahn
“Zero Dark Thirty” – William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor

“Anna Karenina” – Jacqueline Durran
“Cloud Atlas” – Kym Barrett and Pierre-Yves Gayraud
“The Hobbit” – Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey and Richard Taylor
“Les Misérables” – Paco Delgado
“Lincoln” – Joanna Johnston

Cloud Atlas
The Hobbit
Les Misérables

The Avengers
Cloud Atlas
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hobbit
Life of Pi

Madagascar 3
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

The Avengers
The Dark Knight Rises

Christian Bale – “The Dark Knight Rises”
Daniel Craig – “Skyfall”
Robert Downey Jr. – “The Avengers”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – “Looper”
Jake Gyllenhaal – “End of Watch”

Emily Blunt – “Looper”
Gina Carano – “Haywire”
Judi Dench – “Skyfall”
Anne Hathaway – “The Dark Knight Rises”
Jennifer Lawrence – “The Hunger Games”

Silver Linings Playbook
This Is 40
21 Jump Street

Jack Black – “Bernie”
Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Paul Rudd – “This Is 40”
Channing Tatum – “21 Jump Street”
Mark Wahlberg – “Ted”

Mila Kunis – “Ted”
Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Shirley MacLaine – “Bernie”
Leslie Mann – “This Is 40”
Rebel Wilson – “Pitch Perfect”

The Cabin in the Woods

The Intouchables
A Royal Affair
Rust and Bone

The Central Park Five
The Imposter
The Queen of Versailles
Searching for Sugar Man
West of Memphis

“For You” – performed by Keith Urban/written by Monty Powell & Keith Urban – Act of Valor
“Learn Me Right” – performed by Birdy with Mumford & Sons/written by Mumford & Sons – Brave
“Skyfall” – performed by Adele/written by Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth – Skyfall
“Still Alive” – performed by Paul Williams/written by Paul Williams – Paul Williams Still Alive
“Suddenly” – performed by Hugh Jackman/written by Claude-Michel Schonberg & Alain Boublil & Herbert Kretzmer – Les Misérables

“Argo” – Alexandre Desplat
“Life of Pi” – Mychael Danna
“Lincoln” – John Williams
“The Master” – Jonny Greenwood
“Moonrise Kingdom” – Alexandre Desplat

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Screen Actors Guild 2012 Nominees announced!

They're here.  The shortest awards show (thankfully) also known as The Screen Actors Guild announced their nominees for 2012.  Here are the lucky nominees:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper (“Pat”) - Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company)
Daniel Day-Lewis (“Abraham Lincoln”) – Lincoln (Touchstone Pictures)
John Hawkes (“Mark”) - The Sessions (Fox Searchlight)
Hugh Jackman (“Jean Valjean”) - Les Misérables (Universal Pictures)
Denzel Washington (“Whip Whitaker”) – Flight (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain (“Maya”) – Zero Dark Thirty (Columbia Pictures)
Marion Cotillard (“Stephanie”) – Rust and Bone (Sony Pictures Classics)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Tiffany”) – Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company)
Helen Mirren (“Alma Reville”) – Hitchcock (Fox Searchlight)
Naomi Watts (“Maria”) - The Impossible (Summit Entertainment)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin (“Lester Siegel”) – Argo (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Javier Bardem (“Silva”) – “SKYFALL” (Columbia Pictures)
Robert De Niro (“Pat, Sr.”) – Silver Linings Playbook (The Weinstein Company)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Lancaster Dodd”) – The Master (The Weinstein Company)
Tommy Lee Jones (“Thaddeus Stevens”) - Lincoln (Touchstone Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Sally Field (“Mary Todd Lincoln”) - Lincoln (Touchstone Pictures)
Anne Hathaway (“Fantine”) – Les Misérables (Universal Pictures)
Helen Hunt (“Cheryl”) – The Sessions (Fox Searchlight)
Nicole Kidman (“Charlotte Bless”) – The Paperboy (Millennium Entertainment)
Maggie Smith (“Muriel Donnelly”) - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Fox Searchlight)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Misérables
Silver Linings Playbook

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Bourne Legacy
The Dark Knight Rises
Les Misérables

Surprises? Skyfall and the seniors over The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel broke through!  Beasts of the Southern Wild wasn't eligible for this as the actors weren't from the SAG union so it is a bit of a bummer.  This award is a huge boost to any movie's campaign.  The rest are all the usual suspects, Lincoln, Les Miserables, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook.  Though I am surprised not to see the cast of Zero Dark Thirty nominated for Ensemble.  I personally think the leading actor category is spot on.  All five actors are the major contenders for the Academy Awards as well.  Your thoughts?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Recommended Links: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Life of Pi and a Jumanji remake!

(Photo: Life of Pi)

  • France has got it right!  At the premiere of Life of Pi in Paris, audiences viewed the film in lifeboats and life vests at the Piscine Pailleron.  How incredibly charming and appropriate for a film about a boy named Piscine!
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is getting a sequel.  I heartily approve, I'd love to see what the gang is up to next.  The Adventures of Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith!
  • Great article in The Hollywood Reporter on the rise of female producers within DreamWorks. And Kung Fu Panda 2 is still the only successful solo outing by a female director, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, in animation. A rarity that needs to be remedied soon.  
  • A blast from the past! A remake of the 1995 hit Jumanji is being penned by the screenwriter of Stranger Than Fiction, Zack Helm.   I used to love that movie as a kid but looking back it on now, the CGI does not hold up.  Those angry monkeys need updating.  There was a 2005 sequel Zathura directed by Jon Favreau and featuring Josh Hutcherson and Kristen Stewart.  
  • Alice in Wonderland, however, is also getting a sequel and original screenwriter Linda Woolverton is back again to write it.  I do hope that most of the original gang will be back for round two.  

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Movie Review: Ted

You know what you're getting into when you decide to watch a film by Seth McFarlane.  I mentally ticked off the boxes as I watched the film, crude humor, drug use, Boston based and of course, Star Wars references littered the entire film.  Ted is the first live action film by the Family Guy creator and he's definitely made the film he set out to.

As the film opens, a posh voice of the narrator tells us about the lonely little eight year-old John Bennett who has no friends but all that changes when at Christmas he gets the gift of a lifetime, a teddy bear as big as himself.  John is overjoyed and that night wishes he was real and they could be friends forever.  Be careful what you wish for! The next day, Teddy comes to life and they are best friends and Thunderbuddies for life.

Flash forward 27 years in the future and John (Mark Wahlberg) still doesn't have any more friends barring Ted.  Except now they sit on the couch, do some drugs, drink beer and watch old movies.  It's a perfect guy friendship.  But John has a pretty great girlfriend in Lori (Mila Kunis) who seems understanding but just wants John to grow up and act like an adult.  Easier said than done because John gets tempted to do insanely stupid yet funny things at Ted's insistence.

Ted is voiced obviously by Seth McFarlane and is basically Peter Griffin from Family Guy in the body of Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear.  It's disturbing at first but pretty soon you'll be laughing along, you can't help yourself.  Ted has absolutely no filter and manages to get in some very funny scraps as he's pursued by a creepy father-son duo (Giovanni Ribisi, Aedin Mincks) for themselves.

But eventually you can't help but root for him and his best friend John to get their lives together.  The film also features some surprising but hilarious cameos by Sam J. Jones, Norah Jones and a silent Ryan Reynolds.  Watch this along with a few friends because where else can you get you get to enjoy a rollicking drunken fight between a teddy bear and a duck named James Franco?

Directed by Seth McFarlane; Story by Seth McFarlance; Screenplay by Seth McFarlane, Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild; Cinematography by Michael Barrett; Editing by Jeff Freeman; Music by Walter Murphy

Additional cast: Patrick Warburton, Joel McHale


National Board of Review 2012 Award Winners

The National Board of Review presents its picks of the best of 2012 from the over 250 films that they viewed this year.  On top of the list is Zero Dark Thirty with wins for best picture, director and best actress as well.  I'm so pleased to see Looper's screenplay get a well deserved win for Rian Johnson.  A big hurrah for the sic-fi genre.  

Best Film: Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Supporting Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress: Ann Dowd, Compliance

Best Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson, Looper

Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Animated Feature: Wreck-It Ralph

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Ben Affleck, Argo

Breakthrough Actor: Tom Holland, The Impossible

Breakthrough Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Directorial Debut: Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Foreign Language Film: Amour

Best Documentary: Searching for Sugarman

William K. Everson Film History Award: 50 Years of Bond Films

Best Ensemble: Les Miserables

Spotlight Award: John Goodman (Argo, Flight, Paranorman, Trouble with the Curve)

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Central Park Five

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Promised Land

Top Films (in alphabetical order)










Top 5 Foreign Language Films (In Alphabetical Order)






Top 5 Documentaries (In Alphabetical Order)






Top 10 Independent Films (In Alphabetical Order)











Tuesday, December 4, 2012

New York Film Critics Circle 2012 Winners!

The first of the Critics awards to be announced are from the New York Film Critics Circle with their pick for the best of 2012.  Here are the winners!

  • Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty
  • Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Best Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Lincoln
  • Best Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
  • Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
  • Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field, Lincoln
  • Best Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Bernie/Magic Mike
  • Best Cinematographer: Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Best Animated Film: Frankenweenie
  • Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary): The Central Park Five
  • Best Foreign Film: Amour
  • Best First Film: David France, How To Survive a Plague

And it looks like Zero Dark Thirty has grabbed first momentum with a pair of impressive wins for Best Picture and Director.  How long do you think this is going to last?

40th Annie Award Nominations!

The 40th Annual Annie Awards nominations have been announced today.  All the major studios, Pixar, Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, DreamWorks and Aardman all make an appearance.  But who will walk away with the big prize on February 2, 2013?  Let's take a look at the film categories!

Best Animated Feature
Brave – Pixar Animation Studios
Frankenweenie – The Walt Disney Studios
Hotel Transylvania – Sony Pictures Animation
ParaNorman – Focus Features
Rise of the Guardians – DreamWorks Animation
The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Aardman Animations
The Rabbi’s Cat – GKIDS
Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 – Warner Bros. Animation
Before Orel – Trust – Starburns Industries, Inc.
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – Illumination Entertainment
Disney Tron: Uprising – Beck’s Beginning – Disney TV Animation
Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury – DreamWorks Animation
Justice League: Doom – Warner Bros. Animation

Best Animated Short Subject
Brad and Gary – Illumination Entertainment
Bydlo – National Film Board of Canada
Eyes on the Stars – StoryCorps
Goodnight Mr. Foot – Sony Pictures Animation
Kali the Little Vampire – National Film Board of Canada
Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV
Paperman – Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Simpsons – ‘Bill Plympton Couch Gag’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV


Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Andrew Nawrot, Joe Gorski, Grant Laker – ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Andrew Schneider ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios
Andy Hayes, Carl Hooper, David Lipton – Rise of the Guardians – DreamWorks Animation
Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios
Brett Albert – ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Jihyun Yoon – ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation
Joel Aron – ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Jerome Platteaux, John Sigurdson, Ryan Hopkins, Raul Essig, Mark Chataway ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic
Stephen Marshall, Joseph Pepper, Dustin Wicke ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ – Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation
Sue Rowe, Simon Stanley-Clamp, Artemis Oikonomopoulou, Holger Voss, Nikki Makar, Catherine Elvidge ‘John Carter’ – Cinesite
Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar ‘Battleship’ – Industrial Light & Magic

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Dan Nguyen ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios
David Pate ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Jaime Landes ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios
Phillppe LeBrun ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Pierre Perifel ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Travis Hathaway ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios
Travis Knight “ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Will Becher ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animations

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Erik de Boer, Amanda Dague, Matt Brown, Mary Lynn Machado, Aaron Grey ‘Life of Pi – Orangutan’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio
Erik de Boer, Matt Shumway, Brian Wells, Vinayak Pawar, Michael Holzl ‘Life of Pi – Tiger’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio
Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser, Scott Benzu, Steve King, Kiran Bhat ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic
Mike Beaulieu, Roger Vizard, Atushi Sato, Jackie Kochler, Derek Esparza, Richard Smith, Mac Tyrie – Columbia Pictures – THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – Sony Pictures Animation

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Bill Schwab, Lorelay Bove, Cory Loftis, Minkyu Lee ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Carlos Grangel ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Carter Goodrich ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Craig Kellman ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation
Heidi Smith ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Yarrow Cheney, Eric Guillon, Colin Stimpson ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

Genndy Tartakovsky ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Johan Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux ‘The Rabbi’s Cat – GKIDS
Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie ‘Zarafa’ – GKIDS
Rick Moore ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Sam Fell, Chris Butler ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features

Music in an Animated Feature Production
Alexandre Desplat ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Bruce Retief ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ – Saltzman Communications
Henry Jackman ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Joel McNeely, Brendan Milburn, Valerie Vigoda ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios
John Powell, Adam Schlesinger, Ester Dean ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios
John Powell, Cinco Paul ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment
Mark Mothersbaugh ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation
Marcello Vignali ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Nash Dunnigan, Arden Chen, Jon Townley, Kyle McNaughton ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios
Nelson Lowry, Ross Stewart, Pete Oswald, Ean McNamara, Trevor Dalmer ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Norman Garwood, Matt Berry ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animation
Patrick Hanenberger, Max Boas, Jayee Borcar, Woonyoung Jung, Perry Maple, Peter Maynez, Stan Seo, Felix Yoon ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Rick Heintzich ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios
Steve Pilcher ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Emmanuela Cozzi ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features
Johanne Matte ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Leo Matsuda ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Lissa Treiman ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Rob Koo ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Adam Sandler as Dracula ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Alan Tudyk as King Candy ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios
Atticus Shaffer as “E”Gore ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios
Catherine O’Hara as Weird Girl ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios
Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animations
Jim Cummings as Budzo ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ – Saltzman Communications
Jude Law as Pitch ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Kelly MacDonald as Merida ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Chris Butler – ParaNorman – Focus Features
Gideon Defoe – The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Aardman Animations
Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa, Karey Kirkpatrick – From Up on Poppy Hill – GKIDS
John August – Frankenweenie – The Walt Disney Studios
Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi -
Brave – Pixar Animation Studios
Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee – Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Editorial in an Animated Feature Production
Catherine Apple ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation
Joyce Arrastia ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation
Mark Rosenbaum ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios
Nicholas A. Smith, ACE, Robert Graham Jones, ACE, David Suther ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios
Tim Mertens ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios


Winsor McCay Award – Oscar Grillo, Terry Gilliam, Mark Henn
June Foray – Howard Green
Ub Iwerks – Toon Boom Animation Pipeline

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Around the World in Posters: Monsters University, The Host, Movie 43 and more!

The film adaptation of the popular YA series Beautiful Creatures featuring a solid adult cast of Jeremy Irons, Emma Thompson and Viola Davis.  Yes, seriously!

Yet another book adaptation, this time from Twilight's Stephanie Meyer.  It's The Host featuring Saoirse Ronan.  

Sulley and Mike as roomies in the new poster for Monsters University.

I really don't see the point of re-releasing every successful movie franchise in 3D.  But Jurassic Park... I can literally feel myself wavering.  

Les Miserables poster featuring Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) and Marius (Eddie Redmayne).

And another featuring the colorful duo, the Thenardiers (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter).

A trio of gorgeous Life of Pi posters detailing a fantastical tale. And who can resist those adorable meerkats? I do believe the one in front is posing for us.

The mother of all star cast films, Movie 43.  

Spectacular banner poster for Oz: The Great and Powerful

And finally, my favorite out of the bunch, the Italian poster for Looper. Simple yet so effective.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...