2016 Oscars Recap

The 88th Academy Awards are officially in the books! Last night’s ceremony, in which Spotlight took home the coveted Best Picture trophy, was both fun and thoughtful thanks to Chris Rock’s excellent hosting abilities, and saw the Oscars distributed among a variety of films. I broke my multi-year streak of correctly predicting 16 awards, but unfortunately my prognosticating talent failed me as I went in the wrong direction, calling only 15 this year. In a year where the nominees generated a lot of controversy throughout the industry, the evening itself was relatively uncontroversial despite its sharp criticism of Hollywood, perhaps because the criticism was so obviously warranted. But even the ultimate winners, surprises and all, made generally few waves and were instead greeted mostly with nods of acceptance. But there’s still plenty to talk about, so read on for my thoughts on the winners, the host, and the show itself.

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88th Academy Awards Picks and Predictions (2016)

Once again, it’s time for Oscar predictions.  I did pretty well last year, getting 16 correct once again (that seems to be what I always get [seriously, I didn’t even have to edit this sentence]). There are some tight races this year, but also a few sure things, so it’s bound to be an interesting evening. I can’t wait to see how Chris Rock tackles the shocking lack of diversity among the nominees. And while awards shows always seem fairly out of touch with popular opinion, I’ll always be a fan of the Oscars. So read on for my (dicey) predictions, as well as my picks if I could hand out the statues as I see fit. And then let me know who you think will be a big winner Sunday night!

Best Short Film, Live Action:
Prediction: Ave Maria
My Pick: N/A

Best Short Film, Animated:
Prediction: Sanjay’s Super Team
My Pick: Sanjay’s Super Team

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What I’d like to see from tomorrow’s 88th Academy Awards nominations

The 88th Academy Award nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, with the ceremony scheduled for February 28th, hosted (for the second time) by Chris Rock. 2015 was a pretty good year for movies, both the big box-office smashes and the smaller films, and as always I have some things I want to see from tomorrow’s nominations. These are not predictions, but simply films I’d like to be recognized in certain categories were this an ideal world. I’ve split them up into nominees that are at least possible versus ones that I know have no conceivable chance. So read on for my Oscar nomination wish list, and then leave me a comment and let me know what you hope to see!

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My Top 12 (and Bottom 3) at the Movies in 2015

We’ve almost reached the end of 2015, and it was a big year for movies. It’s been a year of long-awaited sequels, broken box office records, and some really fantastic movies. There was a lot to love from the movies in 2015, and a few things that weren’t quite so good, so here are my favorite and least favorite things from the world of cinema this year. I generally don’t do a “top 10 films” list, because I don’t get a chance to see everything, and many of the so-called “Oscar bait” films don’t get wide releases until after the year is over. Of course, the best part of 2015 at the movies was getting to interact with so many great people here on the blog, and on Twitter and Tumblr, but I lack the words to properly express my grattitude for you taking the time to read what I write, comment, and discuss movies with me. So instead I present my favorite (and least favorite) movie-related items from the year, comprised of films, characters, scenes, events, themes, and trends from 2015. And let’s hope 2016 is even better!

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Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

In Mad Max: Fury Road, Max drives a tanker truck through a desert wasteland in order to help rescue a group of women from the psychotic warlord who is pursuing them.  That’s pretty much the entire plot of Fury Road, but it fails to capture the essence of what is one of the most intense, full-throttle, and absolutely insane action films of all time.  But to reduce Fury Road by calling it an “action movie” is to ignore the craftsmanship, storytelling mastery, and the scale of what had to go into this film.  Writer/Director George Miller has returned to his original creation 30 years after Max was last seen on the big screen and has managed to build something that feels unlike anything we’ve seen before, yet entirely at home in the universe of Mad Max combining elements of all three previous films.  On the one hand, Fury Road defies description; it’s the sort of film that must simply be experienced, preferably on the big screen.  But on the other hand, it also provides so much to talk about, from its strong feminist tendencies to its impeccable stuntwork to its brilliantly crafted visuals to its surprisingly clever storytelling.  Fury Road is simply one of a kind.

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Trailer Tuesday: Mad Max: Fury Road

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where we look at trailers for upcoming movies.

The Mad Max films form one of the most bizarre trilogies out there.  A product of the unique mind of George Miller (known more these days for the Babe and Happy Feet movies), each film had a drastically different style and feel.  The first film, Mad Max, is the darkest of the three, with its tragic story and its nihilistic style, and it helped introduce the world to Mel Gibson.  The second film, The Road Warrior, is an absolute masterpiece, possibly the greatest pure action film of all time, whose chase sequence is one of the most pulse-pounding and electrifying sequences ever put on film.  The final film, Beyond Thunderdome, is almost too strange to describe, with Tina Turner overseeing a town powered by pig methane where arguments are settled in the craziest of cage matches (“Two men enter, one man leaves!”), and a group of abandoned teenagers who think Max is a prophet.

So it’s almost impossible to have any idea what to expect from Mad Max: Fury Road.  I’m thrilled that George Miller is back behind the wheel, as there’s no one else to whom I would trust a new film, but I’m conflicted since Mel Gibson won’t be returning.  On the one hand that’s probably a good thing, as the thought of watching an older Gibson try to revive his career by returning to his roots isn’t appealing, but on the other hand he was Max and I’m not eager to see him replaced.  And then of course there’s the troubled production, which has been an ongoing story for years.  But if this first trailer is anything to go by, we’re in for one hell of a ride with Fury Road.  Take a look, and read on for my thoughts:

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