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

What I want to see from tomorrow’s Oscar nominations

The Oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning, and while I try every year to predict the winners I won’t even attempt to try to guess the nominees.  However, I do have some things I would like to see when the nominations are announced tomorrow.  I’ve divided these into two categories: actual, genuine “Possibilities” and “Not a Chance”.  I may be hopeful, but I try to keep things at least moderately realistic.  I’ve left out some of the more obvious ones, like Gravity for Best Picture, Director, Actress and all of the technical categories, simply because I think that they’re foregone conclusions and I’m not really sweating them.  Come back later tomorrow after the nominations have been announced (and I’ve gotten home and can actually write about them) for some quick thoughts on who made the cut and who was left out.  In the meantime, read on for the names and films I would like to hear Chris Hemsworth read outtomorrow. 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

The Lone Ranger, Critics and the Box Office

I really hadn’t planned on writing any more about The Lone Ranger, but a series of news articles and quotes that have been floating around this week, along with countless commentary, have me feeling like I should weigh in.  First, Disney has projected that it will lose $160-190 million on The Lone Ranger.  At the same time, or possibly in response to this, several people behind the film have piped up to blame the critics for the box office failure of their film. Continue reading

Review: Despicable Me 2

In the time since we last saw Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and the minions, they have grown into a family.  Gru plays loving father to his three, adopted daughters, going out of his way to cater to them as individuals.  His life of crime is behind him, and he and Dr. Nefario have turned his secret lair into a jams and jellies factory.  At Agnes’s birthday party, Gru dresses up as a fairy princess to fill in for the one he’d hired for the party, while the moms of the other kids at the party keep trying to set him up with their single friends.

However, when an arctic research station is stolen, along with a chemical that can turn the most gentle bunny into a vicious, purple killer (between Despicable Me 2 and The Lone Ranger, vicious bunnies are having a moment), the Anti-Villain League decides to turn to Gru for help.  After initially turning them down, he reconsiders and joins forces with them, in part to partly fulfill the longing for his old way of life.  He’s assigned an AVL agent, Lucy Wilde, and the two of them set up shop (literally) in a mall where they suspect the chemical has been taken.  And all the while, Gru’s minions seem to be disappearing. Continue reading

Review/Analysis: The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger is most likely not what you expect, though it probably has at least one or two moments (or silver bullets) aimed at you.  It’s not a devoted adaptation of the beloved TV show from the 50’s or the radio show from the 30’s.  It’s not a “Disneyfied” (hate that word, it’s so condescending) version of a Western, aimed at kids.  It’s not Pirates of the Caribbean on horseback, though your ability to enjoy The Lone Ranger might be related to your ability to enjoy that saga of movies.  It’s not even a live-action adaptation of Rango.  So what is it?

The Lone Ranger is a rip-roaring, funny, violent, subversive, political, Western action extravaganza.   Continue reading

A Critic’s Manifesto

I’ve been watching the Rotten Tomatoes score for The Lone Ranger slowly climb from a rather horrific 17% today, and it’s gotten me thinking about critics and reviews and the movie review industry as a whole.  In fact, I read a blurb from one review that stated, “Everyone wants this to be horrible,” and it makes me wonder how much film reviews in the industry are shaped both by what people expect from a movie, what they want to happen to the movie, and what they think people expect and want the reviews to say.  So if you’ll excuse the rambling, unorganized and meta nature of this post, here are some of my thoughts. Continue reading

Trailer Tuesday: The Lone Ranger

Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be endlessly fascinating.

During my movie marathon a couple weeks ago, I saw a trailer for The Lone Ranger (out tomorrow) before my showing of Man of Steel.  There’s nothing unusual about this, and I fully expected it, but what I didn’t expect was this unusual take on a trailer instead of something more typical.  Take a look, and then read on for my thoughts:

Instead of a standard trailer we instead got a behind-the-scenes look at the film.   Continue reading