Sunday, February 28, 2016

Predicting the 2016 Oscars!

Tonight is the night!  The biggest night that the movie industry has every single year.  While I am excited about tonight (partly because I am going to a special Oscars viewing event with my brother and sister-in-law), as for the show itself, this is the least excited I have been for any Oscars ceremony my entire life.  Here's the thing, not only has this year's Oscars been mired in controversy and have a host that will assuredly be too political in Chris Rock (just my opinion), I also had no desire to see majority of the movies nominated this time.  It's not that a lot of the movies probably aren't well made movies, their subject matter just didn't intrigue me enough to warrant spending $10 to see.  With all that said, I have kept up with the race closely, as I always have, and while I haven't seen half of the movies nominated for Best Picture, I know enough about the movies and their awards chances to make good educated predictions.

So what are the things you should expect to see tonight?  Leonardo DiCaprio winning Best Actor and Brie Larson winning Best Actress are the two surest bets of the entire night.  Also, if anyone thinks Inside Out wont win Best Animated Feature, they're probably kidding themselves.  Aside from that, other pretty solid bets are Mad Max: Fury Road cleaning up in the crafts categories.  While I personally am pulling for Star Wars: The Force Awakens any chance I can get (which should have been nominated for Best Picture, and also win if it were), realistically Mad Max has been the token blockbuster favorite with critics and the industry all awards season and I don't expect that to change tonight.  Why critics and the industry seem to always single out just one blockbuster every year to lavish all of their accolades on and then give everything else to a dozen or so dramas, I'll never get that kind of pretentiousness, but that's the way it goes.  Now the real question marks of the night are in arguably the two biggest categories.

Best Director and Best Picture are really up in the air this year.  The Revenant won the Director's Guild Award for its directing, as well as the BAFTA and Golden Globes for both Picture and Directing, but The Big Short won the Producer's Guild Award, which has been the most accurate predictor of Best Picture the past few years because it's the only other award that uses the same voting system as the Academy.  However, there's also the potential spoiler in Spotlight which won the Screen Actor's Guild Award for Best Ensemble, which traditionally is a harbinger for Best Picture glory.  So the race is really split three ways between these three movies for Best Picture, and while I don't think neither Big Short director Adam McKay, nor Spotlight director Tom McCarthy, have a shot at winning Best Director, The Revenant director Alejandro G. Inarritu could find himself upset by Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller.  There's a lot of support for Miller in the industry, so don't discount that.  If Best Film Editing (a good indicator for Director and Picture) goes to Mad Max, we might see this as a possibility.  As well, look for Emmanuel Lubezki to be the first cinematographer ever to win three Oscars in a row for The Revenant, and if Inarritu does win Best Director for the same movie, he will be the first director to win two years in a row since Joseph Mankiewicz in 1951, and the first director to direct two Best Picture winers in a row.  Is Inarritu going to be immortalized by the Academy?  Time will tell, but for now here are my predictions for 2016's Academy Awards!  And for a full list of nominees, check this link.

Best Documentary Short:  Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah

Best Short Film - Animated:  Bear Story (Historia de un Oso)

Best Short Film - Live Action:  Stutterer

Best Sound Editing:  Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Mixing:  Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Visual Effects:  Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Makeup and Hairstyling:  Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Costume Design:  Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Production Design:  Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Film Editing:  Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Cinematography:  The Revenant

Best Documentary Feature:  Amy

Best Foreign Language Film:  Son of Saul

Best Animated Feature Film:  Inside Out

Best Original Song:  "Til it Happens to You" from The Hunting Ground

Best Original Score:  The Hateful Eight

Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Big Short

Best Original Screenplay:  Spotlight

Best Supporting Actress:  Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Best Supporting Actor:  Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Actress:  Brie Larson, Room

Best Actor:  Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Best Director:  Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant

Best Picture:  The Big Short

As always, check back tomorrow for my full reactions to this year's Academy Awards!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Movie Review: "Deadpool"

If you like your movies violent and vulgar, then Deadpool is right for you.  Based on the Marvel Comics character, Deadpool is about Wade Wilson aka Deadpool, a masked merc with a mouth who is on a mission to find the jerks who physically scarred him, and that's about the whole movie right there.  Deadpool is essentially one long chase movie with flashbacks thrown in to give the chase context.  Ultimately, how much you enjoy the movie simply boils down to how funny you find Ryan Reynold's filthy-mouthed portrayal of Deadpool.  Don't be fooled into thinking this is a fun superhero movie for the whole family, this movie has a hard R-rating, and deservedly so.  While I personally found a lot of the violence, nudity, and language unnecessary, we live in a day-and-age where so many are desensitized to these things, I know I'm in the minority.  Bottom line, if you enjoy movies that are as rude, crude, and socially unacceptable as possible, Deadpool is right for you.

I give Deadpool a 5 out of 10!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Movie Review: "Hail, Caesar!"

I am not really sure where to begin here.  Hail, Caesar! was a movie I wanted to love, but just couldn't.  The thought of not liking a Coen brothers comedy still horrifies me, but that's exactly the case here.

Hail, Caesar! stars Josh Brolin as a Hollywood fixer for a fictional movie studio in the Fifties, and it is his job to privately resolve issues between stars, directors, and the media.  This idea seems to be perfect fodder for the Coens to mine, but the movie just never really seems to click into place.

George Clooney portrays a buffoonish movie star who is kidnapped by Communist screenwriters.  Why?  The movie never really makes that clear.  Then there are all of the well produced, but overly long stretches showing the various movies in production at the studio, from a biblical epic to a Gene Kelly-type song-and-dance movie.  I wanted to enjoy everything this movie was doing, but I never got why we were spending so much time with characters who literally only show up for one scene and then are done.

The only real saving grace for this movie is the very funny performance from Alden Ehrenreich as a singing cowboy movie star who helps Brolin rescue Clooney.  I personally would have watched a whole movie about Ehrenreich's character and had been more satisfied.

At the end of the day, I still think there was a great movie idea in here somewhere, but Hail, Caesar! never quite finds it, nurtures it, and brings it to the forefront.

I give Hail, Caesar! a 5 out of 10!