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Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Schumer’s next Trainwreck.

Amy Schumer’s infectious Trainwreck was one of the more laugh-filled theater gifts to

audiences in years. Goldie Hawn’s Private Benjamin and Overboard are comic staples. A pairing of these two blondes having fun should be at least half as funny as their best work, right?

The talents of Schumer and Hawn elevate this comedy for sure, but I’m sad to say that this project should have been cast overboard. The script is an ‘80s comedy throwback, complete with South American stereotypes, punched up with the expected gross out gags of modern rom-coms and bro-coms. I think they picked the two worst parts of those decades; it’s a long hour and a half.

Turns out, casting this duo, who we love individually as irreverent free spirits, means that someone has to play it straight. As a result, Hawn's uptight mom character doesn’t give her a chance to shine.

I did laugh a lot, but there was a lot of eye-rolling in between. Amy Schumer falling on her face gets some cheap laughs, but it’s not so funny for ticket buyers that this film also falls on its face.

Simply put: It should be one mother of a comedy. It isn’t.

Award potential: None.

The Ten Buck Review: Not worth ten bucks, but if you want to see these two together and need some cheap laughs on a Mother’s Day outing, I’ll understand.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Song at the beginning of Guaridans 2 ELO
The Misfits Strike Back. 

When Guardians of the Galaxy blasted into theaters in the summer of 2014, it had little to no expectations and it wowed us with its formula-breaking spirit and the movie-star arrival of Chris Pratt. Volume 2 arrives with out-of-this-world expectations, and it suffers from trying to accomplish all of them. Luckily for us, it’s still more fun than everything else at the cinema. 

There are still a lot of laughs this time around from Star Lord (Pratt), Rocket (voice of Bradley Cooper), Baby Groot (voice of Vin Diesel) and the gang, but while the original centered on Star Lord’s centered rise to leading the motley crew, Pratt is given a sobering family drama with Kurt Russell that sucks out any carefree momentum he generates. Separating the characters from Pratt is surely a calculated move for a franchise that also wants us to get invested in other characters such as Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zeo Saldana) and her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan), but the film drags while Pratt is separated from the narrative. 

The overly digital effects, the meandering story and the new misfits all try too hard, but when you see the team form and hear ELO or Fleetwood Mac on the soundtrack, all is right with the galaxy. 

Simply put: Fun, but forgettable. 

Award potential: Not that kind of film. Potential for Best Makeup.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks, just for the opening scene.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wonder when the summer movies are? The Summer 2017 Movie List

Ready, set, action movies! Summer movie season kicks off in May with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and continues with laborious sequels (and a few enticing diversions) until Labor Day. Plan your summer outings now with this quick guide to what's coming each weekend of summer:

May 5 
The blockbuster sequel: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, The boxing movie: Chuck (Limited), Liv Schreiber, Naomi Watts 
The family movie: 3 Generations (Limited), Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon
 The family issues movie: The Dinner (Limited), Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Laura Linney

May 12 
The Lord of all things epic movie: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Director Guy Richie, Charlie Hunnan 
The 80’s comedy: Snatched, Amy Schumer, Goldie Hawn
 The boomer pic: Paris Can Wait (Limited), Diane Lane, Alec Baldwin

May 19 
The sequel we didn't ask for: Alien: Covenant
The older kidflick: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
The teen weepie: Everything, Everything

May 26 
The Arrrr–rated sequel: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 
The TV-rehash comedy: Baywatch, The Rock  (May 25)


June 2 
The superhero wonder: Wonder Woman
The kidflick: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie
The dramedy: Dean (Limited), Demetri Martin, Kevin Kline

June 9 
The Tom Cruise film: The Mummy
The Trump-era film: Beatriz at Dinner (Limited), John Lithgow
The Brit Lit film: My Cousin Rachel (Limited), Rachel Weisz

June 16
The rap bioflick: All Eyez on Me
The Pixar film: Cars 3
The future shark week film: 47 Meters Down, Mandy Moore, Matthew Modine The Chick Flick event night pic: Rough Night, Scar-Jo, Kate McKinnon
The indie A-list film: Maudie (Limited), Ethan Hawke, Sally Hawkins

June 23 
The toy franchise film: Transformers: The Last Knight
The Mad Max in Tex film: The Bad Batch (Limited), Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey, Suki Waterhouse
The Coppola Civil War pic (Sofia): The Beguiled (Limited), Colin Farrell
The Pakistani comedy: The Big Sick (Limited), Kumail Nanjinani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter
The curveball action flick: Baby Driver, Ansel Elgort, Jamie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, June 28 (Wednesday)

June 30 
The big yellow sequel: Despicable Me 3
The rehash: Amityville: The Awakening
The SNL Film: House, Will Ferrel, Amy Poehler

July 7 
The relaunch: Spider-Man: Homecoming

July 14 
The one with those apes: War for the Planet of the Apes, Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson
The Brit Lit Chick Flick: Lady Macbeth (Limited),
Florence Pugh
The thriller: City of Ghosts (Limited), Matt Dillion, Gerard Depardieu

July 21 

The WWII film: Dunkirk: Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh…and Harry Styles
The Girls Night Out flick: Girls Trip: Queen Latifah, Reginal Hall

July 28 
The sci-fi spy pick: Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron, James McAvoy
The kid, hopeful- franchise film: The Emoji Movie, voices of T.J. Miller, James Corden, LLana Glazer, Steven Wright, Patrick Stewart
The pop doc: An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Al Gore

August 4 
The gunslinger movie: The Dark Tower, Iris Elba, Matthew Mcconaughey
The civil riot film: Detroit, John Boyega
The youth novel film: Midnight Sun, Bella Thorne, Patrick Schwarzeneger
The early contender for a Raspberry award: Ingrid Goes West (Limited), Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen
The Jeremy Renner FBI film of the month: Wind River (Limited), Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen

August 11 
Oh, the horror: Annabelle: Creation
The drama: The Only Living Boy in New York (Limited), Kate Beckinsale, Jeff Bridges

August 18 
The Ryan Reynolds, Samuel Jackson non-super hero film: The Hitman's Bodyguard
The end-of-summer kid’s movie: The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

August 25 
The thriller, Polaroid
The re-release: Terminator 2 in 3D
Boomer’s night out: Villa Capri, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Rene Russo
17th Century alternative: Tulip Fever (Limited), Alicia Vikander, Judi Dench

September 1 
The war film: Renegades, J.K. SImmons
The animated musical: Leap!, Elle Fanning, Carly Rae Jepsen, Mel Brooks, August 30 (Wednesday)

September 8 
The comedy: Home Again, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Sheen
The Stephen King thriller: It, Bill Skarsgard

The ten buck review: TBD. At least one of these will be worth ten bucks.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mr. Roosevelt

Austin Films comedy
A mess visits Texas.

Emily (Noel Wells), a struggling actress who moved to La La Land to pursue a career in comedy, returns to her college town when a loved one falls sick. That’s the premise for Mr. Roosevelt, a comedy set in Austin, Texas.

After a few minutes of watching this lighthearted comedy, I realized that not only is this film set in Austin, but also every vibe, visual and detail is so Austin-y Austin that it could have been set at a food truck serving tacos. The next scene I saw? It was at a food truck serving tacos.  
Wells (Master of None) is both actor and director for Mr. Roosevelt, and she’s a standout for comedy timing with both roles. She plays a character that is an equal blend of Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex & The City, Lena Dunham in Girls and Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids so there’s a lot of familiar stuff here, but the comedy is ripe and the Austin vibe has a distinct personality.

Before this film goes wide, the producers would be wise to cut an opening scene with unfortunate similarity to an Oscar-nominated musical released earlier this year. The comparisons are unfavorable and it's a bumpy start. 

The film definitely finds its groove soon after. Like Jon Favreau's Chef (2014), Mr. Roosevelt is a familiar tale set in colorful place that is pure joy to watch. (Yeh, they both have food trucks.)

Simply put: Grab a Shiner and a taco and get ready to watch this girl and her mess visit Texas.

Award potential: Not a contender for awards season, but should please most audiences on the festival circuit and in theaters.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


Wolverine finally has his The Dark Knight.

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine has carved out many iconic scenes on film (six X-Men movies and two Wolverine ones) and he may be the single most iconic onscreen superhero, but the flicks have always come up short. Wolverine has never had a great movie—until now.

For starters, Logan is unburdened of comic book trappings. There is no doomsday villain nemesis nor aliens invading our planet. This down-to-earth film fulfills the promise of those first scenes in the original X-Men (2000) where we were first introduced to the Eastwood-gruff character. The R-rated Logan is gritty, raw, original and before the film is over, we finally get to see Wolverine let loose. And it's about bloody time.

It's 2029 and mutants are a thing of the past. Logan is graying, tired and worse of all—driving for an Uber-like service when trouble comes his way. That trouble sets up a road trip film that is part Road Warrior, T2, High Noon and Shane, a western noir which is utilized within the film. 

There's a lot to love about Logan. Jackman and the esquisite Patrick Stewart share some powerfully-written scenes that rise above the format. Fans will be pleased and first-timers will have a stand-alone film to love. Cue the sunset.

Simply put: Logan is the Wolverine movie we've waited 17 years for.

Award potential: If this were a different time of year, I could entertain some Golden Globe discussion about Jackman and Stewart even though it's a comic-based movie, but these super performances won't be remembered as award-worthy a year from now.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Watch out! What to watch for during Sunday's Oscars® telecast

While there will surely be some political pulpit moments in a year where we’re kinda exhausted with that, there are a dozen reasons why the show looks to transcend and entertain. Here are some things to watch for (some facts, some predictions):

John Legend, Sting and Lin-Manuel Miranda will delight. 
John Legend will perform 'City of Stars' and 'Audition (The Fools Who Dream)' from La La Land. Sting will sing 'The Empty Chair' from Jim: The James Foley Story. And young 
Auli'i Cravalho will join Miranda to perform 'How Far I'll Go' from Moana.

Justin Timberlake will perform too, with trolls. Ugh.
Justin Timberlake should solidify his career low point Sunday with a (surely) colorful musical confection of 'Can't Stop The Feeling'—from Trolls. May be more tolerable if watched while eating cotton candy. 

There will be no musical tribute to Best Hair and Makeup.
Show producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd have promised there won’t be any extraneous musical numbers, except those pegged to the nominated Best Song and the In Memorium segment.

Viola Davis will set the tone.
The Best Supporting Actress award will likely be presented in the first third of the show. Whether she is political or focused on film or a mix of both, I don’t think the high-profile winners that follow will stray too far from the tone she sets.

Emma Stone will wear green.
Not my expertise, but it would be too costume-y to do a yellow dress like the La La Land one. And blue might inspire her to do this (above). Vegas has odds on gold, but redheads love green for events that matter. 

Jimmy Kimmel will pass out food.
The segments that saw peak social activity in past years were when Ellen Degeneres delivered pizzas and Chris Rock had girl scouts deliver cookies, so they are sure to repeat this stunt. When Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Emmys, he asked the Stranger Things kids to pass out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I’m hangry for a new bit, but I doubt they’ll pass on another social buzz opportunity.

Little Saroo will steal the show.
If Mumbai native Sunny Pawar, who plays the young version of Saroo in Lion, appears, no one will notice who else is on stage.

Kate McKinnon (SNL) will make a surprise appearance.
She’s not listed as a presenter, but she slayed at the Nominees Luncheon so I wouldn’t be shocked to hear her to read the rules or introduce Price Waterhouse for some laughs.

The In Memorium segment will be a doozy.
Expect clips from movies and a simple nod to the double tragedy of Carrie Fisher and her mom Debbie Reynolds. Waitress the Musical’s Sara Bareilles (“Love Song”) will perform.

Halle Berry will get an unexpected standing ovation
I’m just guessing here, but Halle Berry may get a moment. It won’t be for her work in Kidnap or Catwoman, but this night will applaud both diversity and maybe presenter Berry, the first African American to win Best Actress, fifteen years ago for Monster's Ball (2002).

We will get tired of the Matt Damon/Jimmy Kimmel stunt
It’s no accident that Kimmel has resurrected the ongoing Matt Damon faux feud on his late night show; he’s reminding everyone so we’ll remember it and laugh at some future bit on Sunday. Ben Affleck has one more Oscar than Damon, for producing Argo, so he’s likely to play a role. 

I expect it will be Kimmel’s low point in the show — unless Casey Affleck wins Best Actor, for the role that Damon was set to play, setting up some actual humor for the end of the show. 

The Salesman will upset the highly-decorated Toni Erdmann.
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation, The Salesman) and Shahab Hosseini, the star of Best Foreign Language film nominee The Salesman have said they will not attend the ceremony in protest of Trump’s travel ban —nudging their movie to statement-vote status.

If White Helmets wins, tears will flow.
The White Helmets are a group also known as the Syrian Civil Defense who work tirelessly to rescue civilians affected by the country's devastating civil war. The film, The White Helmets, focused on three of them — all who are attending and will be a site on stage if this film wins Best Documentary Short.

History will be made.
It was a great year for diversity in film (and a year after #oscarssowhite), so it should not be surprising if history is made Sunday. Expect three actors of color towalk away with three of four acting Oscars. Denzel, Viola and either Mahershala Ali (or Dev Patel) are all front runners.

This land is La La Land, from California to Oscars podium. 
Expect ten trips to the podium from one big film. Oscars loves films about themselves and it doesn’t hurt that it’s one of the most daring films of most any year. Expect 10 wins for La La Land, tying West Side Story for second most wins.

Three hours and 31 minutes of Oscar.  
The producers promise a "swift" show with “some real candy in the middle.” 
I can’t wait.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Five fab 2017 Oscar® nominated documentaries available on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu

The White Helmets, Nominated for Best Documentary Short.
This short but remarkable documentary explores the work of the White Helmets, a group of Syrian citizens credited with having saved thousands lives over the past five years amidst the turmoil and violence in Syria and Turkey. 58,000 lives including the “miracle baby.”

Director Orlando von Einsiedel (Academy Award-nominated Virunga) combines hand-held action video and interviews with artful cinematic film work of the rubble of Aleppo, which raises this doc to the next level. It’s a moving and inspiring 40 minutes ­—­ and several moments nearly brought me to tears. You’ll emerge with a towering admiration for these heroes and their work. It's inspiring and amazing. Available on Netflix.

13th, nominated for Best Documentary Feature

Director Ava DuVernay (Selma) sweeps through the history of American racism from slavery to the Black Lives Matter protest at a dizzying pace. However, her tight focus is on incarceration and the 13th Amendment, which guarantees freedom for all citizens "except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." The documentary, full of jaw-dropping facts and stats with intention to stir, is shot in a traditional interview format, but it couldn’t be timelier. Available on Netflix.

Extremis, Nominated for Best Documentary Short
Extremis, Latin for “at the point of death,” follows a two families day in the life of people who work in the ICU. There is a lot of frankness to take in, but the film is a merciful 24-minutes. Available on Netflix

Life, Animated, nominated for Best Documentary Feature
If you believe in Disney magic,this is the documentary for you. Life Animated explores a young autistic man's life and the breakthroughs that came from an unusual source — Disney animated movies.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams unfolds the story of Owen through his endearing parents, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. One of their first breakthroughs comes when they realize that a young Owen was reciting lines from The Little Mermaid as a way to not only understand the world around him, but also to communicate with them. It's the most charming Disney movie that Disney never made. Available on Amazon Prime.

OJ: Made in America, nominated for Best Documentary Feature
One of the best-reviewed, most decorated documentaries of the year offers insights into sports,celebrity fame and race — and it often transcends its themes.

Some had this film in their Oscar short list for Best Picture nominees despite being an 8-episode 30 for 30 from ESPN. It’s seven-and-a-half hours. Available on Hulu, WatchESPN and available to rent on Amazon.
The Ten Buck Review: All worth ten bucks, or a subscription to Netflix.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Win Your Oscars® Pool - stats for every category

who's is going to win the Oscar this year Academy Award

With a third of this year’s Academy Award winners poised to bring on a la-la-landslide, the status of your Oscars office pool winnings is likely to be decided by the below-the-line categories. That’s why we’re here with our stat-tastic predictions.

1. Win the Best Director category
Go with whoever won the Director’s Guild of America award. Those winners have matched 62 times in the past 69 years. And the Oscar goes to: Damien Chazelle for La La Land.

2. Win the Best Cinematography category
This top award has gone to one man, Emmanuel Lubezki, for the past three years — but he’s not nominated this year. This we know: for the last four years, this honor has gone to the same film that won Best Director. And the Oscar goes to: Linus Sandgren for La La Land.

3. Win the Best Visual Effects category
Historically, a nominee that also has a Best Picture nomination will always win in this category, but that’s not an option this year so we must look to the VES Awards. For eight of the past 13 years, the winner for Outstanding VFX has gone on to win the Oscar. And the Oscar goes to their winner: Jungle Book.

4. Win the Best Foreign Language Film category
For months, this category has been a two-horse race between Toni Erdmann (Germany) and The Salesman (Iran). But then Trump’s executive order on immigration threatened to bar Iranian director Asghar Farhadi from attending. And the statement Oscar goes to: The Salesman.

5. Win the Best Music (Original Score) category

This award most often aligns with the BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, which honored Justin Hurwitz this year. And the Oscar goes to Hurwitz for La La Land.

6. Win the Best Music (Original Song) category

Unless the two La La Land songs cancel each other out, “How Far I’ll Go” writer Lin-Manuel Miranda probably won’t get his EGOT just yet. But he can be happy with his E,G,T and Pulitzer. And the Oscar goes to: “City of Stars” from La La Land.

7. Win the Best Production Design category
This award, renamed from “Best Art Direction” in 2012, has only aligned with Best Picture three times since 2000. One of those was Chicago, a musical.

The winner of this category often aligns with either the Critic’s Choice award which awarded the fantastical La La Land, or with the BAFTA Awards which chose Fantastic Beasts. But I think the latter group were just being British loyalists. And the Oscar goes to: La La Land.

8. Win the Best Animated Short Film category
Beginning just three years ago, ALL members of the Academy (not just category peers) can pick the winners of: Best Documentary Feature, Best Animated Short Subject and Best Live Action Short Subject.That means everyone from actors to musicians will have a say instead of just documentarians, so dumb it down a bit when making your pick — or just choose one with a cute animal. And the Oscar goes to a film about a little bird: Piper.

9. Win the Best Animated Feature Film category
Zootopia is the front runner, but with another Disney film in the mix (Moana), will Kubo stage an upset? Seven out of 11 PGA-winning animated films also won this award and they chose Zootopia, your safest bet. And the Oscar goes to: Zootopia.

10. Win the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category
The Swedish couple behind last year’s surprise nominee 100 Year-Old Man and this year’s A Man Called Ove is up against two large studio films once again. They are clearly respected by their peers, but all Academy members vote at this stage, and more of them saw Star Trek. And the Oscar goes to: Star Trek.

11. Win the Best Costume Design category
This is one of the hardest categories to predict this year. True to life period movies (versus creative or modern ones) have won Best Costume for 20 of the past 25 years. Exceptions were fantasy ones such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert and last year’s Mad Max: Fury Road. That period piece stat boasts well for Jackie, but the exception points to Colleen Atwood and her 11th Oscar bid for Fantastic Beasts. She has won for fantasy before (Alice in Wonderland).

My bet is that the modern La La Land feels more like a period piece because, oh, that yellow dress. And the Oscar goes to second time nominee Mary Zophress (True Grit) for La La Land.

12. Win the Best Documentary category (Feature)
Four black directors are nominated for Best Documentary and three of those four films deal with race and race relations in America. 13th has recent buzz but no film has more acclaim that OJ: Made In America — unless voters see it as just a TV series. And the Oscar goes to: OJ.

13. Win the Best Documentary Short category 
Jon Stewart recently screened Joe’s Violin, a film about a Holocaust survivor and artist. Those are two of Oscars’ sweet spots and it could win.

The White Helmets and Watani are both films about Syrians trying to stay alive. The travel ban would have prevented the Nobel Peace Prize subjects of The White Helmets from attending. In a category where voters aren’t clear how to vote, sending a message should take this one over the top. And the Oscar goes to: The White Helmets.

14. Win the Best Live Action Short Film category
Sing is a pic about competition with a fine story arc and a good chance of being seen. Silent Nights is a love story about a volunteer at a homeless shelter. Timecode is a well-reviewed friendship dramedy and the shortest and slightest in the category. La Femme et la TGV is a feel good film that follows the exchange of a baker and train conductor. And Ennemis Interiur is about a hot topic — immigration. And the Oscar goes to: Ennemis Ineriur.

15. Win the Best Film Editing category
Film Editing winners don’t always align with Best Picture. (Mad Max, Whiplash and Gravity are the past three winners), but in 2002, the year of Chicago, it did. And the Oscar goes to: La La Land.

16. Win the Best Sound Editing category
The loudest movie takes Best Sound Editing, period. Speed, Pearl Harbor, Mad Max, Zero Dark Thirty, The Dark Knight, King Kong, T2 and Bourne Ultimatum have all won Oscars in this category. Seriously.

This category rewards “most aesthetic” sound design and the creating of sound effects and not musicals. Chicago and Les Miserables weren’t even nominated in their years. La La Land is the frontrunner in Vegas, but I predict the Oscar goes to: Hacksaw Ridge.

17. Win the Best Sound Mixing category
While last year’s Sound Editing and Sound Mixing winners aligned to the same film (Mad Max: Fury Road), the winners in this category, rewarding most euphonic sound mixing, often vary from the Sound Editing award. Whiplash, Les Miserables, Dreamgirls, Ray and Chicago are among the past winners. In six of the last ten year the CAS Award-winner has also won this award so watch those results on Saturday) And the Oscar goes to: La La Land.

18. Win the Best Adapted Screenplay category

The USC Scripter Awards have accurately predicted this category for the last six years and it rarely goes to the same film that wins Best Picture. And the Oscar goes to someone deserving who many want to see on stage that night: Writer-director Barry Jenkins for Moonlight.

19. Win the Best Original Screenplay category

Through the years, the winner in this category most closely resembles the winners of Writers Guild of America, but this year La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester are all in the WGA Original Screenplay category — yikes — but I think this is the place Oscar can spread the love. And the Oscar goes to: Kenneth Lonergan’s brilliantly written Manchester by the Sea.

20. Win the Best Actor/Actress/Supporting Actor/Supporting Actress categories

The SAG voters are all actors and are the largest block of voters for the Academy Award. Choose the SAG winners and you’re likely to win your pool.

In the past ten years:
100% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Actor
80% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Actress
90% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Suppporting Actor
80% of the SAG winners also took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress

Only six times in the 23 years of SAG awards did all four winners go on to win the Oscars. Good news for Casey Affleck. But for your safest bet, the Oscars go to: Emma Stone, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali.

21. Win the Best Picture category

Films without an editing nomination don’t often win the best prize. Eliminating Manchester By The Sea, Hidden Figures, Lion and Fences. That leaves Moonlight and La La Land.

For eight of the last nine years, the Producers Guild’s choice for Best Picture went on to claim the top prize at the Oscars. 19 of the past 27 have done the same. Good news for PGA winner La La Land. And the Oscar goes to: La La Land.

22. Win the show’s-running-time tiebreaker.
In 2002, the show ran four hours and 23 minutes. Whew! But more recently, the show has trended consistently shorter. Here are the timings for the past eight years:

2009: 3 hours, 30 minutes
2010: 3 hours, 37 minutes
2011: 3 hours, 15 minutes
2012: 3 hours, 14 minutes
2013: 3 hours, 35 minutes
2014: 3 hours, 30 minutes
2015: 3 hours, 43 minutes
2016: 3 hours, 37 minutes

23. Win the tiebreaker: How many awards will La La Land win?
When everything above happens, La La Land will have won Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Actress, Score, Song, Production Design, Film Editing, Sound Mixing and hopefully Costume, which totals to ten Academy Awards.

That’s one shy of being one of the top winning films with 11 (Titanic, Ben Hur and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ) and on–par to tie another musical for the second tier, West Side Story with ten. That sounds about right. 

And ten Oscars go to: La La Land.

Good luck with your Oscars pool, everyone!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


A whole lotta Loving.

Loving, from director Jeff Nichols (Mud), tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving and the 1967 civil rights decision on laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Loving vs. Virginia was one of history’s most groundbreaking Supreme Court cases, but you might gloss over that landmark status while watching this subtle, but affecting story that centers on the couple involved.

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga play the quiet and dignified couple, appropriately named Loving, with a restrained style that is, well, quiet and dignified. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help the viewer understand much about these two individuals or lead to much onscreen excitement. However, I’ll take their simple chemistry to courtroom grandstanding and speeches any day.

Simply put: Subtle to a fault, but quietly affecting

Award potential: Best Actress nomination for Ruth Negga but no nominations for Best Picture or other categories, which feels about right. It’s a fine film, but not best of the year.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.