Monthly Archives: February 2013

And The Oscar Goes To….My Predictions for the Oscars 2013

Its almost that time again. The biggest night of the film industry and everyone will be wondering who will go home a winner and who will be this year’s “it should have been them/they were robbed/i can’t believe they won it instead of” etc,etc.

Normally by this time it’s clear who the winners will be and the night becomes completely predictable. But for once there could actually be some upsets.

So here are my predictions for the main Oscars categories.

Best Pitcure

Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

Still can’t believe Skyfall missed out on a best picture nomination. But that aside this is one of the widest Best Picture category in years. As much as I’d love to see the look on the audience’s faces if Django Unchanined won my prediction is on Argo. Ben Affleck’s thrid directorial film was a tense, exciting thriller and has a lot of buzz at the moment. Also everyone loves a comeback and who would have thought a few years ago that Ben-Pearl Harbour-Affleck would be up for an Oscar.

My prediction: Argo

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington

As much as I loved Bradley Cooper and Hugh Jackman in Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables respectively, its surely going to be Daniel Day Lewis’ night. He’s won it twice before and I’m sure his turn in Lincoln will score him a third.

My prediction: Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, Naomi Watts

If I was giving out the Oscars I’d be handing them all out to Jennifer Lawrence. She’s one of my favourite young actresses at the moment  and was amazing in Silver Lining Playbook.  But she’s got strong compitition from Zero Dark Thirty’s Chastain and Amour’s Riva (getting a lift from her win at the Baftas). It’s going to be close between them all and although I think Lawrence will just about get it I wouldn’t be surprised if a split vote meant a shock win in this category.

My prediction: Jennifer Lawrence

Best Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin, Robert De Niro, Phillip Semour Hoffman, Tommy Lee Jones, Christoph Waltz

Another wide open category. It could go to any one of the above, who are all previous winners by the way. I think its between Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) and Christoph Waltz (Django Unchanined). My money is on Waltz. He won before with a collaboration with Tarantino and his performance in Django was brillant. Again it could easily be another wild card winner in this one.

My prediction: Christoph Waltz

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, Sally Fields, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt, Jacki Weaver

This category has Hathaway’s name all over it (I wouldn’t be surprised if her name hasn’t already been carved into the award). She was exceptional in Les Miserables and it doesn’t seem like Les Miserables will be winning in any other of the major categories, and the Acadamy likes to spread the wealth amongst the nominees so she has this in the bag. Any possible upset will probably come from Sally Fields (Lincoln). Although as a big Amy Adams fan I would love to see her come away with something but I think tonight is Hathaway’s night.

My prediction: Anne Hathaway

Best Director

Amour (Michael Haneke), Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin), Life of Pi (Ang Lee), Silver Linings Playbook (David O. Russell), Lincoln (Steven Spielberg)

An odd list. Its not that any of these are bad, its just strange for its omissions. Affleck, Hooper, Bigalow, Tarantino are surprisingly snubbed and with Argo the favourite to get the Best Picture nomination, it’ll be interesting to see who’ll get the nod for best director. I think it will be between Lee and Spielberg with Speilberg just pipping Lee to the win. It would be nice though if this is one of the categories with a wild card win, as it would be nice to shake things up a bit.

My prediction: Steven Spielberg

Not long to go now we’ll soon find out if my preditions are scarily accurate or halariously far off.

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I Give It A Year

The Rom-Com genre is a notoriously difficult to get right, and this new British comedy shows how hard it is to perfect the winning formula.

I Give It A Year stars Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne as newlyweds Josh and Nat who find out married life isn’t what they thought it would be. Temptation arises as Josh gets closer to his ex-girlfriend Chloe (Anna Farris) and Nat works intimately with her new American client Guy (Simon Baker). Have they married the wrong person?

One of the problems with I Give It A Year is that the main couple are so hard to like. Josh is an immature fool and Nat is an uptight control freak. I’m unsure as to whether I’m meant to be rooting for them to stay together or divorce and get with their other love interests. But while watching the film I realised I didn’t care who ended up with who as they’re all so unlikeable. Only Farris’ Chloe is remotely sympathetic but I wouldn’t wish her to be saddled with Josh any more than Nat.

Likeable characters aren’t always necessary to have a good film (although it does help). But for this film to work it needs to be consistently funny. It does have some laugh out loud moments. Stephan Merchant’s best man speech is still funny despite it being shown so much in the trailers and Minnie Driver is great as Nat’s cynical sister. Farris is also hilarious in the world’s unsexy threesome scene. Unfortunately there is plenty of dry spells where there’s no laughs to be had.

The film tries to do something new with the genre by having you want the main couple to split up. But it never feels quite as subversive as it wants to be. The ending feels laboured and by the climax I just wanted everyone to end up single. Not really a good sign!

Rating 2 ½ out of 5

A good try but not nearly as funny as it needed to be or with enough characters to be care about.

 

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My Perfect Valentine’s Day Films

So as promised here is a few of my favourite romantic films, when I can’t help but carried away with it all.

First up, Before Sunrise and its sequel Before Sunset, these films are a must for romantics everywhere. In Before Sunrise Jesse, an American guy (Ethan Hawks), meets a French girl Céline (Julie Delpy), on a train in Vienna and decide to spend the day together before they go their separate ways. The film follows a series of conversations between these two as they wonder around the city. What makes this such a joy to watch is that the dialogue between them feels so natural.  It captures that moment where you meet someone and just connect with them. Maybe it doesn’t last long, maybe it lasts forever but what they feel at that time is real and it’s perfect.

Before Sunset picks up 9 years after they first met and we see what happened to them and if they did ever meet up after the end of the first film like they promised. Hawkes and Dupley knew their characters so well and had such a strong idea of where they would end up that the actors were involved in the scriptwriting process. The beauty of these characters is that they are flawed people, so real and you root for them the whole way. A third film Before Midnight is out this year and I can’t wait.

One of my favourite comedies is When Harry Met Sally. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan (remember when she was in every romantic comedy going?) make a loveable pair in a film that asks whether men and women can ever just be friends without sex getting in the way.  There are many memorable scenes which are still hilarious even on repeated viewing including Ryan’s infamous fake orgasm scene. The script by the late Nora Ephron is a gem ranging from the funny…

“Had my dream again where I’m making love, and the Olympic judges are watching. I’d nailed the compulsories, so this is it, the finals. I got a 9.8 from the Canadians, a perfect 10 from the Americans, and my mother, disguised as an East German judge, gave me a 5.6. Must have been the dismount.”

…to the unashamedly romantic…

“I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

I watch this film and all my cynicism melts away, mostly because I’m laughing so hard.

If I want a good cry then it’s hard to beat The Notebook.  Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams are perfect as the young couple in the 40’s falling in love. It’s wonderfully narrated by James Garner as Duke who is telling the story from the notebook to a fellow nursing home resident played by Gena Rowlands. I can’t watch it without bursting into tears.

There are plenty more romantic films that I enjoy from British rom-coms like  Love Actually and  Four Weddings and a Funeral, to more quirky ones like The Princess Bride which has so many quotable lines and memorable characters that I couldn’t even start to list them now-maybe in a another post.  But I shall stop now before I tear up just thinking about the ending of The Notebook.

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My Anti Valentine’s Day Films

I’m not against Valentine’s Day. I’m also not against rom-coms. But I often feel like Valentine’s Day pulls me into two different directions. One part loves all the romance, the happy couples and the reassuringly cheesy rom-coms that inevitably come out at this time of year. Then there’s the other part that feels cynical, gets annoyed at the smug couples,  or just can’t stand to see another rubbish romantic comedy (and I mean comedy in the loosest sense of the word)and can’t wait until the world goes back to normal again.

With this in mind I’m doing two posts this week. One where I’ll be discussing my favourite romantic movies and this one, which celebrates that sometimes around Valentine’s Day you want to see something that’s not the predictable boy-meets girl.

First off is My Best Friend’s Wedding. On the surface this seems like your normal rom-com, after all it starts Julia Roberts, what more proof do you need?  Roberts plays Jules who is horrified when her best friend (a man-it’s not that kind of film) decides to get married to a preppy blonde named Kimmie and Jules realises she’s in love with him. So Jules naturally sets out to try and stop the wedding. Now normally in this kind of film we’d see Kimmie as the annoying villain standing in the way of the Jules’ path to true love. Except Jules is a complete bitch! And Kimmie is a sweet, sympathetic girl, and suddenly you wonder whose side you’re supposed to be on.  Worth seeing if you’re sick of Rom-coms always playing the same predictable notes. And it’s actually funny!

Then we get 500 Days of Summer, which I enjoy mostly because of the sequence where Joseph Gordon-Levitt mimes along to the Hall & Oates song “You Make My Dreams” on his way to work and suddenly everyone else joins in. But that musical interlude aside this film mostly stays on the bitter edge, following what happens when a relationship is decidedly one sided. When the girl of your dreams doesn’t think you’re the guy of hers. Funny and thoughtful with another amazing performance by Gordon-Levitt (does he ever put in a bad one?)

If I’m really turned off by any kind of rom-com then I’ll just go straight into horror. I have a love/hate relationship with horror, generally not liking anything that’s too sadistic and mean spirited. A bit of humour is always welcome. So I’d probably go for something in the Scream or Final Destination franchises. Humour and scares often go side by side in these and I won’t feel too scared going to bed (ok maybe with the first Scream film) but I can still get my anti Valentine kick.

If I was to continue the horror films then I’d have to include one of my favourite films of last year The Cabin In The Woods. Perhaps more witty than scary but like Scream I love things that comments on the clichés of the horror genre and puts its own clever spin on it. Then maybe follow that up with Drag Me To Hell it’s funny and has likeable leads in Alison Loman and Justin Long. It also has some good scares (especially the old woman) and a great ending.

So that’s my Anti Valentine’s Day Films. I’d be interested in hearing what would be on everyone else’s lists.

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Django Unchained

I haven’t posted for a little bit, been  feeling a bit of the winter blues, which seems to have affected my wallet so was unable to see anything new recently. Luckily I’ve just been able to see Quentin Tarantino’s latest Western Blaxploitation Django Unchained.

It isn’t until I saw this that I realised how much I miss Tarantino when he’s away. His witty screenplays, exaggerated blood splattered violence and even his own best forgotten cameos.

So Jamie Fox is Django, a slave in 1858 who encounters Christopher Waltz’s Dr. King Schultz a German dentist turn bounty hunter (hey, could it happen!). He offers Django his freedom and a chance to rescue his Django’s wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) if he helps Shultz hunt down the Brittle brothers.

The film has a great cast, it’s fun to see Leonardo DiCaprio let loose at playing a villain as plantation owner Calvin Candie. Him and Samuel Jackson’s as Caddie’s loyal house slave, Stephen are a thoroughly disturbing pair. As the hero Fox is solid as Django but the film is really stolen by Christopher Waltz, possibly the nicest character in the whole film, and when your kindest guy is a bounty hunter who shoots one wanted man dead in front of his son you can imagine how horrible the rest of the cast is. Waltz brings warmth and humour into the film which is much needed in a film about slavery and violence. Tarantino’s film may be controversial for some for its violence but it just serves a reminder of just how bad slaves were treated (not that most of us should need reminding).

Surprisingly for a Tarantino film the lead female character Broomhilda is underdeveloped and I wish I could have known more about her apart from that she is Django’s wife and speaks German. Some flashbacks to her life as a slave without Django would have been good but then again that may have been distracting. Broomhilda is more a plot devise, she is what Django is aiming for.

There are many great scenes in this film; the funniest for me being the Ku Klux Klan scene which just goes to show one of the underlying themes of Tarantino’s film-racist people are just stupid.

Rating

4/5-Tarantino is back and hopefully he’ll have some Oscars for his efforts

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