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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Django Unchained


Leonardo Django Foxx Waltz Samuel L. Jackson Tarantino

Director Quentin Tarantino’s tribute to the spaghetti Western stars two intriguing characters: Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).

The actors,who also include Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson, are in fine form and having fun in this ironically exploitative film. Tarantino has created some great scenes, but as a whole, this hit-or-miss movie just isn’t that clever. And it most definitely isn’t 2 hours and 45 minutes clever.

A liberal-hearted revenge Western is a fun concept, but you get the feeling that Tarantino just wants to shock you at every moment while he has you trapped in the theater. That’s only fun for the first hour — then I just felt ripped off.

Simply put: More unhinged than unchained. I'll give it a silent D.

Award potential: Nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting and Best Original Screenplay.

The ten buck review: Not worth ten bucks. Go enjoy the scenes in the film trailer instead.

Zero Dark Thirty


Will Zero Dark Thirty win Oscar
“You can help yourself by being truthful.”

Zero Dark Thirty reunites the Oscar winning team of director-producer Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) for the step by step story of the manhunt for the world's most dangerous man­— Osama bin Laden.

Screenwriter Boal has acknowledged that “all of the characters in the film are based on real people.” Some of these real people, like the agent who inspired main character Maya (Jessica Chastain), still work under secret identities.

Most of the meticulously crafted story is rolled out in a matter-of-fact way, which may disappoint someone looking for a character-driven film. But these very details will delight anyone fascinated by the process that led to finding OBL.
Following all this procedural drama, Bigelow recreates the Navy Seal’s raid on the compound, which gives the movie a satisfying thriller climax.

Simply put: The current torture controversy in the press shouldn’t distract from this meticulously crafted thriller that is about so much more.

Award potential: Nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay. With Zero chances at Best Director (Bigelow was not nominated). Chastain has a procedural-type role, which is usually good enough for a nomination only. This film could get rewarded in one area — for the research and talent to write the screenplay. But the torture controversy may rob it of that too.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.








Saturday, January 26, 2013

SAG Award Predictions- 2013

SAG AWARDS helen hunt bush

In the past 18 years, over 75% of the (non-ensemble) SAG Actor award winners have gone on to win the Oscar that same year — yeh, the SAGs are a much better bet for predicting the Big Night than any other award show. Good luck with both races. 

Here's what's gonna happen:

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Supporting Actor
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Film Ensemble
Could be any of the three films above and probably should go to Lincoln which also includes strong spots for Sally Field, James Spader and Hal Holbrook. But only 9 of 17 ensemble winners have won the Best Picture Oscar...so I'll take the edge from a Spielberg movie and give it to Harvey Weinstein's heavy promotion of Silver Linings Playbook

Life Achievement Award
Dick Van Dyke, OK, now I'm cheating, it's already been announced.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Golden Globe Predictions - 2013


Award golden globe upset
Predicting what 90 random Hollywood Foreign Press members picked is a daunting task but last year I got 12 out of 14 correct, so here goes.  
Here's what's gonna happen:

Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)
With many heavyweights in lightweight movies, the odds are ever in favor of Jennifer Lawrence.



Best Actor (Comedy or Musical)
Bradley vs. Hugh. Both are working the awards circuit and well loved. But Hugh was more musical than Bradley was comedic. Hugh Jackman accepts tonight.



Best Actor (Drama)

One of the strongest categories, but honestly, I think Daniel Day-Lewis wins as Lincoln.



Best Actress (Drama)
Jessica Chastain scores big numbers with Zero Dark Thirty.



Best Supporting Actor

Another strong category where anyone could be awarded, but Django Unchained lovers have two ways to split their vote. Tommy Lee Jones rightfully takes it.

Best Supporting Actress

Sally Field is a strong choice for her redefinition of Mary Todd Lincoln, but don't we all know that Anne Hathaway was destined to win one of these…and an Oscar. Edge to Anne Hathaway.

Best Screenplay

Lincoln is possible, but Mark Boal, who researched his film from the ground up, may have the award locked up with Zero Dark Thirty.

Best Original Song

Les Miserables' new song gets shaken and stirred by Adele's winning Skyfall.


Best Score Cloud Atlas wowed the industry, but the Foreign Press will go with the only one that people remember later, John William’s Lincoln.



Best Director

If in Vegas, go with Speilberg or Bigelow. I’m picking a well-timed shocker. With a list of nominees that also includes Tarantino and their very favorite Ang Lee…picking the nice actor with a great film solves the dilemma and spreads some love to Argo.  
Ben Affleck, in a headline making upset.



Best Animated Feature Film

Brave is set in Scotland, but Tim Burton did tonight’s winner Frankenweenie

Best Foreign Language Film

More love tonight for Amour

Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical)
Moonrise vs. Silver Linings vs. Les Liz. A tough call, but I think Hugh and Anne’s Les Miserables swoons the Hollywood Foreign Press.



Best Motion Picture (Drama)

Any of the 5 nominees could win this Globe, but the tiny little edge goes to Zero Dark Thirty, which peaked at the right time to win.




Friday, January 11, 2013

Les Miserables


Hugh Jackman Anne Hathaway Oscar nomination win bet
When I heard the cast for the movie musical of Les Miserables , it looked like I had dreamed-a-dream come true. Hugh Jackman! Anne Hathaway! Russell Crowe! Helena Bonham Carter! Amanda Seyfried!

Their individual performances, all sung live on camera, are solid, impressive and moving. And the soundtrack is selling well. So that worked.

But dang, Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) has assembled a relentless, 2 hour 38 minute movie that feels as long as it is. Yeh, at about the second hour, I screamed a scream as much time went by.

Simply put: Loved the book. Loved the musical play. Liked the movie. The world’s longest running musical has become the longest-seeming film.

Award potential: Hugh Jackman holds this thing together and could win Best Actor. Anne Hathaway is the front-runner for Best Supporting Actress. She indeed stole big moments from the movie — that type of performance tends to win that award.

At the end of the day, this film is a great way to reward these two versatile, well loved actors — but it won’t take Best Picture and Skyfall will probably take the Best Song title away too.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks for Les Miz fans. Others should stay away.



Thursday, January 10, 2013

And The Nominees Are...

Oscar Nominees List 2013 Seth
The Academy Award nominees were announced today (by Seth Macfalane). Lincoln got the most with 12. And we have our oldest AND youngest Oscar Best Actress nominees. But no director for Argo (surprising) or Les Miserables (not)
 
The nominees are:
 
Best Picture
Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Silver Lining Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Director
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Michael Haneke, Amour
David O. Russell Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, The Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master 
Denzel Washington, Flight

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanueller Riva, Amour
Naomi Watts The Impossible
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of A Southern WIld 
Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert DeNiro, The Silver Linings Playbook
Christolph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jackie Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

Best Original Screenplay
Amour
Django Unchained
Flight
Moonrise Kingdom
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo
Beasts of a Southern WIld 
Lincoln
Life of Pi
Silver Linings Playbook


Cinematography
Anna Karenina
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
Skyfall

Costume
Anna Karenina
Lincoln
Les Miserables
Mirror Mirror
Snow White & The Huntsman

 Score
Anna Karenina
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
 
Song
Before My Time, Chasing Ice
Everybody Needs A Best Friend, Ted
Pi's Lullaby, Life of Pi
Skyfall, Skyfall
Suddenly, Les Miserables
 
Documentary Short
Inocente
Kings Point
Mondays at Racine
Open Heart
Redemption
 
Film Editing
Argo
Life of Pi
Lincoln
SIlver Linings Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty 

Makeup
Hitchcock
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables

Production Design
Anna Karenina
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln

Short Film- Animated
Adam and Dog
Fresh Guacamole
Head over Heels
Maggis Simpson in The Longest Daycare
Paperman

Short Film - Live Action
Asad
Buzkashi Boys
Curfew
Death of a Shadow
Henry
 
Sound Editing
Argo
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Skyfall
Zero Dark Thirty 
 
Sound Mixing
Argo
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Skyfall
 
Visual Effects
The Hobbit: An Unexpeted Journey
Life of Pi
The Avengers
Prometheus
Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Foreign Film
Austria, Amour
Denmark, A Royal Affair
Canada, War Witch
Chile No,
Norway, Kon-Tiki
 
Best Animated
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Painting
Wreck It Ralph
 Spoilers: From Up On Poppy Hill, Zarafa

Monday, January 7, 2013

Alan's Oscar Nominee Predictions - 2013

Seth MacFarlane Emma Stone Oscar nominations

Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone will announce the Academy Award nominations Thursday a.m.  I have a 88.5% degree of accuracy for nomination predictions over the past five years  — here’s what’s gonna happen:

Best Picture
Amour
Argo
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Miserables
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Lining Playbook
Zero Dark Thirty
Spoilers: Skyfall, The Impossible, Flight

Best Director
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
David O. Russell Silver Linings Playbook
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Spoilers: Michael Haneke Amour. Tom Hooper, Les Miserables, Paul Thomas Anderson The Master

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, The Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Denzel Washington, Flight
Spoilers: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master, Jean-Louis Trintignant Amour

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Jennifer Lawrence, The Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanueller Riva, Amour
Naomi Watts The Impossible
Spoilers,: Quvenzhane Walllis, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Helen Mirren Hitchcock

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, Argo
Javier Bardem, Skyfall
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Robert DeNiro, The Silver Linings Playbook
Spoilers: Christoph Waltz Django Unchained, Leonardo DiCaprio Django Unchained, Dwight Henry Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Maggie Smith, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Spoilers: Ann Dowd Compliance, Nicole Kidman The Paperboy, Samantha Barks Les Miserables, Jacki Weaver Silver Linings Playbook

 Best Original Screenplay
Amour
Looper
Moonrise Kingdom
The Master
Zero Dark Thirty
Spoilers: Django Unchained, The Master, Flight

Best Adapted Screenplay
Argo
Lincoln
Life of Pi
Perks of Being a Wallflower
Silver Linings Playbook
Spoilers: Beast of Southern Wild

Cinematography
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Les Miserables
The Master
Skyfall

Costume
Anna Karenina
Cloud Atlas
Django Unchained
Lincoln
Les Miserables
Score
Anna Karenina
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Life of Pi
Lincoln
The Master
Song
Freedom, Django
Learn Her Right, Brave   
Skyfall, Skyfall
Suddenly, Les Miserables

Best Foreign Film
Austria, Amour
Denmark, A Royal Affair
France, The Intouchables
Chile No,
Norway, Kon-Tiki
 Spoilers: Switzerland, Sister, Canada War Witch, Iceland The Deep

Best Animated
Brave
Frankenweenie
ParaNorman
The Painting
Wreck It Ralph
 Spoilers: From Up On Poppy Hill, Zarafa

 

Hitchcock

Hitchcock Oscar Helen Mirren

As a lover of all things movie making, Alfred Hitchcock and Hollywood, I was easily engaged in Hitchcock from start to finish. But in the first 30 minutes I knew that you could kill of any chance of this being one of the better movies of 2012.

This over-simplistic tale would have made a better TV biopic and it mightily surpasses HBO’s recent Hitchcock biopic, The Girl. 

What does work here is the relationship between Alfred (Anthony Hopkins) and his wife Alma (Helen Mirren). This is a nice film, not a great one. And to use a quote from the film (not the stillbirth one), “Charming. Doris Day should do it as a musical.”

Simply put: Fun for fans of movie making, but this film is hardly worthy of the Master of Suspense.

Award potential: Anthony Hopkins was inconsistent, but Helen Mirren was consistently wonderful enough to have a chance at an Oscar nomination — but probably won’t make the cut. If there were 7 nominees, not 5, she’d be up for another award. In another year, I'd also mention Best Makeup.

The ten buck review: Worth two bucks. A great rental.


Silver Linings Playbook

Oscar nominations Jennifer Lawrence
In his follow up to the terrific film, The Fighter, writer-director David O. Russell finds the perfect tone to craft a lighthearted romantic comedy about someone suffering from a heavyweight issue: bipolar disorder and depression.

Silver Linings is based on a clever novel by Matthew Quick. And for once, the movie is actually better than the book. Thank the smart dialogue and superb performances by Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro, who finally has a role he seems to engage in.

Actually, just thank David Russell. This could have been another crazy-family comedy, but the silver lining is that he has created a modern classic.

Simply put: Family nuttiness. Football. Dancing. Romance. It’s a smart crowd pleaser.

Award potential: Lots. Count on nominations for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and acting nods for Cooper, Lawrence and DeNiro.

The ten buck review: Worth ten bucks.