2014 Oscars Recap

Last night’s Academy Awards ceremony was a big step up from last year’s.  Of course, everyone knew Ellen Degeneres would do a better job than Seth MacFarlane, but she really knocked it out of the park last night.  While I wouldn’t want her to host every year (because it would get stale), I would fully support bring her back every other year to host, until she doesn’t want to do it anymore.  As for the winners, the very deserving 12 Years A Slave won best picture, as the major categories went to the frontrunners.  As for my predictions, I only went 16/24 (the same as last year), as most of my predicted upsets never panned out.  I feel sorry for the person who was linked to my blog yesterday searching for “86th academy awards expert picks,” because they probably lost their Oscar pool if they used me as a guide.

Ellen started things off in her usual style, making some killer jokes while also keeping things light and fun.  Continue reading

86th Academy Awards Picks and Predictions (2014)

Once again, it’s time for Oscar predictions.  I did pretty well last year, getting 16 correct, but this year will be more of a challenge.  Not only is this year one of the most up in the air group of nominees in recent memory, but I’ve seen very few of the major nominees. (There are a variety of reasons for that.) So this year’s predictions might be way off.

Best Short Film, Live Action:
Prediction: Aquel no era yo (That Wasn’t Me)
My Pick: N/A

Best Short Film, Animated:
Prediction: Get a Horse!
My Pick: Get a Horse!
Get a Horse! may not have been the most beautiful or deep or meaningful or profound animated short in recent years, but it was fun, clever and creative, and being attached to Frozen probably doesn’t hurt.

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86th Academy Award Nominations (2014)

The Academy Award nominations for 2014 were announced this morning.  Read on for my thoughts and for the full list. Continue reading

My Top 10 (and Bottom 3) at the Movies in 2013

Now that 2014 is well under way it’s a good time to look back at the movies of 2013.  I went to the movies 40 times in 2013, a pretty low number for me, seeing 32 new films (the other 8 were either movies I saw more than once or classics I got the chance to see on the big screen).  Through a variety of reasons, I’ve managed to miss most of the big awards contenders including 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Her, Philomena and The Wolf of Wall Street, unlike last year when I had seen most of them.  Instead of simply ranking my favorite films from the past year, however, I prefer to highlight my top 10 (and bottom 3) movie-related things from 2013.  Some of these will be particular movies or performances, some will be scenes or aspects of production, and some are bits of news or interpretations.  I hope you enjoy it, and remember to let me know your favorite (or least favorite) film-related things from 2013! Continue reading

Review: Gravity

Gravity, despite pulling aspects from a variety of familiar film styles, is a movie that feels unique, which is something with great appeal to me these days. It has much in common with Open Water, the 2003 film about a couple who are left behind while scuba diving, but it also borrows heavily from a variety of disaster movies where people are trapped or stranded and have to improvise a way to survive. And of course, it has a lot in common with Apollo 13, including the use of Ed Harris as the voice of mission control. (It even blatantly steals and idea from WALL-E and contains obvious references to Star Wars and Alien.) But its tone is drastically different from all of those films. Where those movies have a frantic aspect to them, with every moment devoted to the heroes solving the next problem or overcoming the next obstacle, Gravity has a peacefulness to it that sets it apart. And while there are moments of terror and suspense, the calm peaceful moments are what will stick with you after you’ve left the theater. Continue reading

Trailer Tuesday: Gravity

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies.

When my wife and I see a new movie trailer, either in the theater or at home, we almost always look at each other afterwards to get an sense of each other’s quick reaction to the trailer.  Usually they’re in sync, as we typically like the same sorts of films.  “Stupid” comedies get an eye roll, horror films usually get a sarcastic yes followed by a determined no, big, loud action movies typically get an indulgent smile and a shake of the head, while many others get a noncommittal shrug or head bob indicating that we need to see more before deciding.  Even when we don’t agree, we usually know what reaction the other one will have before we look, so I wasn’t surprised to see her emphatic no following the first trailer we saw for Gravity.  Take a look at the latest one below, and read on for my comments:

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