The 91st Oscar nominations were announced this morning in a presentation by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. We have the full list of all the most noteworthy people and films up for the coveted Academy Award.
The 2016 Academy Award Nominations came out and unlike previous years, I’m not sure how to react. Over the years, there’s always snubs and disappointments and that comes with any awards but this year seems different. While there are still questionable decisions, it seems that, dare I say it, the Academy might have actually gotten (most of it) right.
The Revenant is the big winner (if there ever could be one) today, leading the way with 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. This was not a shock considering it’s been one long awards circuit gushing over the movie. That and no one tries to mess with the movie with a giant bear. Close behind is a great surprise with Mad Max: Fury Road earning 10 nominations. While it has been getting great press and was arguably the best movie of the summer, blockbusters never typically get recognized on this big of scale, especially in the Best Picture category (see: The Dark Knight). The Martian follows with seven nominations, despite director Ridley Scott not snagging one himself (more on that later). Other notables were Spotlight with six nominations and The Big Short (somewhat surprisingly in my opinion) coming in with five nominations.
… and the internet exploded.
No really, I think it did. Well for me it did, quite literally. I had no internet at my home last night for many hours (I liketa died) and for some reason the email I use for work and entertainment news was not loading anywhere, even on my phone. When it finally came back, the first thing that popped up was this:
I want to know what star Seth MacFarlane had sex with, and then how good that sex had to be that the star then went and told all the other stars that they should go ahead and align in Seth MacFarlane’s favor this year. Seriously.
I cannot think of anything to begin this with other than this is sad news. Michael Clarke Duncan passed away Monday at the young age of 54. Duncan suffered a heart attack seven weeks ago, and never recovered. The actor was dating reality TV star Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, who according to TMZ, provided life-saving efforts when Duncan had his heart attack.
The actor had a short, but impactful career. Duncan’s first big role was in Armageddon in 1998, where he played Bear. Following that, in 1999, he played my favorite role of his, John Coffey in The Green Mile – the film adaptation of the Stephen King book. Coffey is a man accused of killing and raping two young Louisiana girls, but is innocent of the crime. While on death row, knowledge of his magic comes to light. He can literally heal with his hands. His 6’5″, 300+ pound muscular stature was perfect for the role. This movie was one of my favorites because it is one of the only book-to-film adaptations that I ever liked. I read the Green Mile books (there were 6 in the set), and the film was just as great in my opinion. As you know, that is not usual. I believe that the success of the film was a direct result of Michael Clarke Duncan’s Oscar-Nominated performance.
Michael Clarke Duncan’s talents will be greatly missed. Rest in peace.
As a fan of Les Misérables, I am pleased to present this news. The newest movie adaptation of this prestigious musical will be releasing in theaters this year. I have very high hopes that this star-studded cast will do their best to keep it authentic and pure of Hollywood garbage.
Les Misérables is a tale of much passion. In fact, each song from this stage musical has a story, and within each story there is a different very powerful emotion expressed. Here is the official synopsis from Collider.com:
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption–a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe) after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
The two characters most intriguing to me are Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. I cannot wait to see what they bring to the characters. I will say this, though… if Hathaway bastardizes ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, I will not rest until her career is halted for eternity. She sounds beautiful in the trailer, but we shall see.
Take a look at the trailer:
Les Misérables will be released on December 14, 2012.
In 1987 Paul Verhoeven released one of the most awesomely violent movies ever made, so violent in fact that it initially received and ‘X Rating’ for it’s graphic nature. It told the story of Detroit cop Alex Murphy being brutally murdered by Red Foreman, before OCP (the company that owned the police) stole his body and using state of the art 80s technology, brought Murphy back to life. Kinda. Robocop was born, more machine than man, at least early on. The movie was incredibly dark as some of Murphy’s memories surfaced and Robocop was forced to deal with the fact that he was once a man with a family and he struggled with his own existence. He did not however let this struggle interfere too much with the downpour of justice he rained onto New Detroit.
In the years to follow Robocop inspired 2 horrible sequels and a slew of crappy TV episodes. In addition though, he did also star in some pretty legit comics and video games. Then a couple of years back rumors surfaced that Darren Aronofsky, who has a penchant for making some pretty dark shit, was tapped to helm a series reboot and bring the iconic 80s hero back to the spotlight. Well delay after delay, including the production of Black Swan, for which he would receive an Oscar nomination, eventually took him out of the running and it was believed that the project was dead.
So while in ‘New Movie Limbo’, the old tin can cop went and got himself nominated to into statue-hood. What started as a joke on Twitter, directed at Detroit Mayor (and NBA Hall of Famer) Dave Bing was a suggestion to build a statue of Robocop downtown to bring in some tourism. Mayor Bing quickly shot this down, and by simply acknowledging it, the interwebs took it and ran. Internet geeks everywhere started pledging money towards the erection of the statue, but it was one geek in particular, Pete Hottelet, threw in $25,000. Who is Pete Hottelet you might ask. Well he is the owner of OCP, his company, named after the corrupt company that ran New Detroit in the movies, makes movie related memorabilia. His donation, combined with the rest of the internet patrons resulted in $67,436 being raised through Kickstarter. That statue is currently in the production stages.While we’re waiting to see the monument built, interest in the movie spiked back up. This time with Brazilian director José Padilha (Elite Squad) helming the project, and our favorite fictional Cyborg cop is set to be played by The Killing star Joel Kinnaman (below).
Well that had been the extent of what we’d heard for a while. Until just the other day when it was announced that Gary Oldman would also be joining the cast…
Oldman will be playing a new character named Norton, “the scientist who creates RoboCop and finds himself torn between the ideals of the machine trying to rediscover its humanity and the callous needs of a corporation.”
Gary Oldman is fricking awesome. I’m pretty excited for this movie, which is believed to start shooting something this fall, possibly in Toronto. I was really hoping they’d shoot it here in Detroit. I have to say if this time around, it’s set somewhere other than Detroit, I’ll be upset. Anyway, Oldman makes everything better, so that good.
Ok, that’s all I got.
The Oscars are fast approaching, which means it’s time to check the list of nominees and watch as many of the nominated films as humanly possible. Of course, for a regular movie-goer like myself, not only would watching 61 movies in two months be a questionable management of priorities, it’s also nearly impossible to get access to some of the smaller, less mainstream films on the list. However three Oscar-worthy animated shorts you’d likely not have the opportunity to see are now streaming online for free for your viewing pleasure. Here they are:
The silent era is one of the most important and one of the most sacred eras in film history. It marked the beginning of the motion picture, as well as the beginning of the future. No one had ever seen anything like a movie before, and, as bold of a statement as this may be, nobody ever will.
The late 20s marked the beginning of what was then known as the “talkie”. For years, people had been watching movies with no sound, backed only by live instrumentation to set the tone for every scene. People craved more, though. They figured that if people could talk in real life, why couldn’t they talk in the movies? The transition from silent to talkie left many actors jobless, with few able to maintain their status as a top silent actor or filmmaker, with Charlie Chaplin being one of the most recognizable names.
In The Artist, one of the world’s most famous silent actors, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), is facing a similar ultimatum. Either he retires as an actor, forgotten like the rest of silent film, or he adapts to his ever changing environment, embracing the talkie as the rest of the world has. Valentin also has a chance encounter with Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), a young and beautiful dancer who decides to follow her dream of being an actress when a photo of her and Valentin is found on the cover of Variety.
Meanwhile, studio executive Al Zimmer (John Goodman), pushes the technological advancement on Valentin, which does nothing but push him away. Valentin swears that he’ll keep silent film alive, making films of his own that bomb quite drastically as Miller’s status as a leading woman rises quickly, going from extra to star in a mere two years. The two begin something of an unspoken romance that is constantly interrupted by the outside world. Eventually, Valentin finds himself poor and alone, save for his extremely loyal butler, Clifton (James Cromwell). With both talkies and Peppy Miller at the top of the entertainment industry, Valentin is lost, looking for a reason to live as happily as he once did.
The Artist has been named the best film of the year by many a critic, and is almost a shoe-in for best picture at the Oscars this year. The hype for this film, produced by The Weinstein Company, has been some of the biggest of the year, causing viewers to rush to the theater, fueled by the film’s numerous awards, as well as its 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So, does it live up to the expectations of being the best movie of the year?
Well, in short, no. In fact, it doesn’t really even earn a place in my top 20 and possibly even 50 of the year, but it does do something that I can’t quite put my finger on. It had a certain effect on me that I can’t quite vocalize. It wasn’t nostalgic, and it wasn’t authentic, so that can’t be it, but if not that then what?
For one, in aiming to resemble the silent films of the 1920s, it does a relatively decent job, but is also missing quite a bit. Screened in 14:2 ratio instead of the 16:4 that we’re used to was quite pleasing, as was actually making the film silent to really encompass the world that it was portraying. With all of the authenticity though, came quite a few mistakes. For one, the HD quality of the film angered me slightly, as if the filmmakers were going for clean, when in actuality, they should have taken a couple pages from the Death Proof handbook and physically scratched the film, giving it a look much more akin to a 1920s film.
Also, for a silent film, there’s a hell of a lot of talking, more than necessary for a film like this, and it kind of made me wish that they had just made the film a talkie, working harder on a select few scenes that were silent to give the movie a little more flair. The intertitles were unfortunately sparse, and considering the bloated running time, 100 minutes (about a 1/2 hour more than it should have been), intertitles would have been nice.
As I mentioned above, at 100 minutes, The Artist is also far too long, deciding to focus on mostly unnecessary and overly extended comedy sequences as opposed to creating a linear narrative that gets the viewer prepared for what was an excellent and heartbreaking third act. The last forty minutes of the film most definitely saved itself from the first 60, and I wished that the plotting in the first half had been as tight and focused as the second.
The Artist is advertised as a romance film, but for being marketed as such, the romance between the two leads seems to be second to the film’s themes of the future of silent actors and their movies, which is disappointing considering that I was hoping to see a beautiful, silent romance, similar to the one that viewers saw in 1931’s City Lights.
Personally, I spend the time that I’m not watching or reviewing movies researching film history, and as a huge fan of the silent era, the whole film’s plot becomes almost irrelevant once viewers learn that silent films were still being made well into the thirties, a well-known one being 1936’s Modern Times. Valentin is supposed to represent a star as big as Chaplin, so why could Charlie still make silent films successfully, and Valentin couldn’t? Seems odd considering the star status that he seems to hold.
In theory, I probably should have loved this movie. The acting is great, with Jean Dujardin giving one of the best performances of the year. The directing by French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, who also wrote the scenario and intertitles, is fantastic, making reflection a metaphor for self-reflection through the sly turn of his camera. So what is it about The Artist that I don’t love? Well, besides its somewhat long first and second act, as a fan of the silent era, the film comes off as a love letter to cinema that got the address wrong. Its heart is in the right place, and its intentions are good, but the boring story never allowed things to take off like they should have, leaving the viewer at a standstill for almost 80 minutes, then gunning it for the last 20. Silent films are deliberate and artful, and require pacing that I found to be lacking here. Then again, if a silent film could win best picture in the the 1920s and the 2010s, that’d be pretty astounding.