87th Academy Awards Picks and Predictions (2015)

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), but there are some tight races this year, and I didn’t make it to nearly as many of the nominees as I would have liked.  I make no promises that any of these will be correct, with the exception of a few seemingly done deals, but read on for all of my predictions and personal picks for this year’s Oscars. Tomorrow night should be lots of fun with Neil Patrick Harris as the host!

(I realize this is very late, getting it just a day before the Oscars, and that I haven’t updated the blog as much recently as I would have liked.  I hope that will change going forward, and I thank you for your patience.)

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

Best Short Film, Animated:
Prediction: Feast
My Pick: Feast

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What I’d like to see from tomorrow’s Academy Award nominations

With the Academy Award nominations due to be announced tomorrow morning, most movie blogs and websites are busy trying to predict what names will be called before dawn. I don’t have the expertise to join them, nor have I seen enough films to really get a sense of how things will shake out. However, despite my feeling that 2014 was a bit of a dud at the movies, I still have some nominations I’d like to see in the morning. I’ve broken them down below into three general categories based on their likelihood, with some seemingly locks for a nomination, others possible but less likely, and others that will never happen no matter how much I want them to.

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My Top 10 (and Bottom 3) at the Movies in 2014

2014 has come and gone, and while there were some definite highlights to the year of movies, overall I’d say it was a bit disappointing compared to years past.  There were some movies that I really loved, but I wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic in 2014 as I usually am for the world of cinema.  However, things are looking up for 2015, with a lot to be excited about, plus there are still a few movies I need to catch up on from 2014 that I either missed or haven’t gotten around to (Big Eyes, Selma, The Imitation Game, etc.).  But now that 2015 is underway it’s time to take a look back at the highs and lows of 2014 at the movies.  Instead of a traditional top 10 list of movies, I like to list out my favorite cinema-related things from the year.  Some of them are movies, but others might be scenes, characters, moments, or even just announcements.  So without further ado, here are my top 10 and bottom 3 of 2014 at the movies.

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Review: Muppets Most Wanted

2011’s The Muppets was hilarious, heartfelt, emotional, nostalgic, zany and inventive, and it brought the Muppets back to the level of success and relevance they deserve.  Muppets Most Wanted is all of those things as well, but to a somewhat lesser degree.  The Muppets was such a revelation and a revitalization that it would be impossible for Muppets Most Wanted to match, but this new film wisely strikes out on its own path, taking things on the road and steering well clear of recycling the story from the last movie.  And in the end, no matter how the rest of the film plays out, it’s always good to see the Muppets together again.

Muppets Most Wanted picks up literally right where The Muppets left off, replicating the final shot of that film.  Continue reading

Trailer Tuesday: Muppets Most Wanted

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

I think even Disney was surprised by the success of 2011’s The Muppets.  It revitalized the brand in a way that was unexpected considering the straight-to-DVD languishing that the Muppets had been suffering in recent years.  Having a big name writer in Jason Segel and cult favorite Bret McKenzie to write the songs helped, but more than that I think people were eager for a real return of the Muppets they knew.  The story had a clever setup, using new character Walter as a way to remind people what they loved about the Muppets, and it was full of stars either in cameos or full roles.  (It’s the best film Jack Black has been in in a long time.)  But beyond that, The Muppets captured the essence of the Muppets, that crazy, surrealist energy that only a band of misfits could have.  It’s too early to tell whether the sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, can recapture that magic, but take a look at the first teaser trailer:


I could listen to Animal yelling out “Sequel” and other random words all day long.   Continue reading

D23 Movie News Roundup

This year’s D23, a conference every two years exclusively for members of the D23 fan club, was full of news about upcoming projects, but unfortunately it wasn’t the news that people were expecting to hear.  There was no Star Wars casting announcement, no surprises from Marvel or Pixar, no Pirates of the Caribbean sequel.  What there was, however, was lots of smaller casting announcements, plus an in-depth look at some films which we previously only knew the title of.  I’m a D23 member, but I wasn’t at the conference this year, but read on for the highlights of what was announced and shown, along with some of my opinions. Continue reading