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Monthly Archives: February 2012

For Your Consideration – Oscar Prediction and Preferences

Ok, so, yes, I am late in the game, but even with a few hours till the actual ceremony, I couldn’t just not have anything posted in regards to the Oscars.It will be brief as all that can be said and predicted.. well, has. But, why not contribute in some way and hope that the Oscars can pull at least one surprise in the mix.

Before the predictions -

Ranking the best picture nominees in order of quality, in the humble opinion of I: (Best to Worst)
- The Artist
- Hugo (It’s essentially a tie between the two)
- Moneyball
- The Tree of Life
- The Descendants
Midnight In Paris
- The Help

Bottom of the barrel

Just below hell

- War Horse.

NOTE: (Unfortunately I was unable to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close before the ceremony, but in all honesty, do you really think it’s going to win?)

And just for fun, what if there were 10 nominees (but of course, 9 is the preferred number) for Best Picture and If I had a say in the manner:

- Drive
- The Artist
- Hugo
- Moneyball
- The Guard
- The Grey
- The Tree of Life
- The Ides of March
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Midnight in Paris

(Although some aren’t personal favourites of mine, they are films that challenge the norm yet strike a nerve or two, thus fitting the Oscar ballot bill almost perfectly)

And Now to:

THE PREDICTIONS
(Including preferences)

Only some categories will be included, not all, but rest assured, it’ll be the ones everyone will be making an effort to watch:

Best Supporting Actress:
THE NOMINEES
Bérénice Bejo in The Artist
Jessica Chastain in The Help
Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
Janet McTeer in Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer in The Help

Prediction: Octavia Spencer – The Help
Preference: Bérénice Bejo – The Artist

Although, Octavia Spencer, even though next to NO ONE has her down as a preference, was one of the better things about The Help.

Best Supporting Actor:
THE NOMINEES:
Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn
Jonah Hill in Moneyball
Nick Nolte in Warrior
Christopher Plummer in Beginners
Max von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Prediction: Christopher Plummer – Beginners
Preference: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Albert Brooks should be nominated in this category, he should also win for Drive. However, putting that aside, Plummer really was wonderful in Beginners (also one of the best things about it) Shout out to Nick Nolte. Also, just quickly, What in the hell did Jonah Hill do in Moneyball that triumphed over Brooks or anyone else in this category?

Best Actress:
THE NOMINEES:
Glenn Close in Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis in The Help
Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn

Prediction: Viola Davis – The Help
Preference: Michelle Williams – My Week With Marilyn

Many are jumping on the Meryl Streep wagon on this one as of late, but there’s two things to consider. 1. Streep already has two Oscars and will have more than 40 chances to claim a third, and 2. The Iron Lady isn’t a good movie, and even the Academy agree’s with that one (although her performance, of course was something.) My pick is Williams as Marilyn as it’s the best performance I’ve seen as the fallen star but Viola is a close second. Plus, people LOVED The Help, it’ll deserve at least these Oscars.


Best Actor

THE NOMINEES:
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
George Clooney - The Descendants
Demián Bichir - A Better Life
Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt - Moneyball

Prediction: George Clooney – The Descendants
Preference: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

I hope I am so incredibly wrong on this one, I want Jean to win, but does anyone remember the 2009 Oscars? Mickey Rourke won almost every award, come Oscars time when he was a sure lock to win, Penn won his second Oscar. I sense this happening again this year, as the Oscar’s one and only surprise (The cruel bastards). As said I hope I’m wrong, Clooney’s performance was fine, but it was no Dujardin. And in case any one thinks I’m mad for choosing this, How many actually love The Descendants as a movie, putting aside Clooney’s performance? All that early Oscar buzz had to come from some place?

Best Director:
THE NOMINEES:
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
Alexander PayneThe Descendants
Martin ScorseseHugo
Woody AllenMidnight in Paris
Terrence MalickThe Tree Of Life

Prediction: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
Preference: Martin Scorsese – Hugo/ Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

In terms of direction, they were both flawless.

AND FINALLY:

Best Picture:
THE NOMINEES:
The Artist 
The Decendants 
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 
The Help 
Hugo 
Midnight in Paris 
Moneyball 
The Tree of Life 
War Horse

Prediction: The Artist
Preference: The Artist (Or Hugo)

And just quickly:

Best Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris – Prediction
                                      The ArtistPreference 

Best Adapted Screenplay: Moneyball – Prediction
                                       The Ides Of March, Hugo or Moneyball – Preference

…. And Rango for best animated feature film.

It’s nice to see a year where the best picture front runner is one that ACTUALLY deserves it and is an original piece of work rather than a sequel or emotional sap fest adapted from a $1.99 romance paperback.

Hope you enjoy viewing and are having a drink or two to get by the usual oscar boredom.

As long as War Horse doesn’t win a thing (Unless Best cheap shot and Best use of a horse to encourage tears and irritation are nominees) then all is right with the world.

For Your Consideration.

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Blog

 

Film Review

Killer Elite (2012)

Can you say Guilty Pleasure? If so, this is the life sentence of guilty pleasures.

How many decent action movies are there these days? I’m not talking PG/M shaky cam, car chase, run of the mill action flicks, I’m talking MA/R balls to the wall action movies that go either above of below the standard run and shoot? Due to the slew of flicks that are all in for the chase and shaky cam, there has to be at least one that tries to be more than what it is or at least… try. It’s been a while and for better or worse, Killer Elite is that movie.

Jason Statham at his stubble faced, angry grunt, scratchy voice best plays Danny, a former assassin who must return to his days of killing in order to save his best friend and mentor, Hunter (Robert De Niro). Of course, it’s the “one last job” routine, well, at least in the beginning it is. The mission? Kill the SAS agents who murdered the sons of Hunter’s captor. It’s a mission that’s more simple than most. So, where’s the conflict? Clive Owen stars as Spike, a former SAS agent who does all he can to save the former agents before Danny and his men can eliminate them, Spike proves to be the real challenge that Danny’s up against in this mission. There’s a good four or more plot lines that exist within this simple set up, but some surprises need to be kept.

When I hinted earlier that this was a different kind of action movie, it wasn’t meant to be read as “Killer Elite is original” because it is very far from that. The “plot” is the same, there’s only so many “one last jobs” that assassins can have. What Killer Elite does, and well, is attempt to be different and in that attempt, it believes itself to be a sophisticated thriller with the occasional action set piece. It isn’t clever but it is kind of intriguing. The action (which is well staged) is only a background to the plot and although the plot isn’t in any real way groundbreaking or original, you are convinced to go along with it, and you don’t mind the company.

Jason Statham squints and looks angry… again. He’s about as charming as a colonoscopy, but Killer Elite still works because he lets the rest of the cast shine. There are no Oscar winning performances in this film, but there are solid actors covered in a lot of facial hair and funny mustaches that try their best in looking cool and angry before shooting something. Clive Owen as usual, is good, Dominic Purcell as Danny’s right hand man in this mission, may have the best handlebar moustache I have seen in a film in a while, he adds a little charm to the mix. Robert De Niro isn’t given much to do except grow a beard and look perplexed, yet it’s nice to see him hanging around. Their roles aren’t much, but they sure charm the hell out of us while Statham kills something.

Oh and with the amount of ridiculous facial here these guys have to convince the audience that the story’s set in the 80′s just adds to the fun. Of course, if you don’t have, you’re from the 80′s! Thankfully, it’s this kind of thinking that helps Killer Elite.

Jason Statham and Dominic Purcell in Killer Elite (2011) Movie Image

The film claims to be based on a true story, when really, it’s inspired by a book titled ‘The Feather Men’, whom of which are the group of ex SAS members featured in the film, The author of that novel, Sir Ranulph Fiennes is one of the targets in the film, that’s about as close as truth and reality this film gets. I highly doubt a guy who squints and grunts a lot fought two men while his hands were tied to a chair then proceeded to jump out of a window and escape really happened. 

When you look at that cast, and see the title of the film, you’re going to expect a fun action movie, and that’s EXACTLY what this is. The scenes in between the shooting and killing work, and the action itself is a lot of fun. It’s nice to see a dumb, yet well shot, well staged action movie with some fine actors beating the shit out of each other. It’s entertainment value is consistent and more than makes up for how silly it all really is.

In praising this ridiculous punch fest for being ridiculous, there are flaws, many in fact. The running time is a good 116 minutes (very close to 2 hours) so, yes, it’s too long. Forty minutes left to go after a nice little action sequence, you really think the movie’s over. Don’t be fooled by fade-outs, there’s a lot left to go, and an additional sub plot introduced towards the end of the film is just ridiculous, but even with seven or eight endings, it doesn’t bring the film down a whole lot, because it still keeps the fun, and when something is this over the top and ridiculous, it can’t always be taken so seriously, so the last forty minutes, although unnecessary is never boring.

Oh and on a side note, their trip goes all around the world, including Australia, so if you can get a glimpse in between the bullets and fists, there’s some nice scenery added to the mix.

When actions movies tend to be realistic and bland so damn often, there’s nothing wrong in welcoming one that doesn’t dig logic too much and could’ve easily been seen in the 80′s (when it’s coincidentally set).

Go, enjoy, if you love a fun, idiotic, ridiculous, implausible action movie with a few stars you more than enjoy watching, then you’ll have a lot of fun like I did.

8/10

And Just to convince you all just that bit more, here are two negative reviews on the film from very distinguished film reviewer colleagues of mine, now if an action movie can split reviewers this much, then it’s gotta be worth your $10 bucks, right?

Andy Buckle from Film Emporium: http://thefilmemporium.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/upcoming-release-review-killer-elite.html
&
Sam McCosh from An Online Universe: http://www.anonlineuniverse.com/2012/02/killer-elite/

Oh and here’s what Statham and his acting versatility will do if you disagree with this review:

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in Film Reviews

 

Film Review

The Grey (2012)

How many 60 year old men you know are willing to punch a wolf in the face repeatedly? 

Liam Neeson stars as Ottway, a member in a team of oil riggers from Alaska who are all involved in a plane crash which leaves them stranded, possibly somewhere in Alaska. It begins with the survivors, keeping warm and finding any means necessary to do so due to constant snow storms and such, and then things get ugly.
Ottway leads the large crew of men through to any means of safety while they’re being hunted down by wolves,
The wolves mentioned are ferocious and relentless, this isn’t Snow Dogs II, they show no mercy, whatsoever. There’s no telling where or when they’ll strike and along with severe weather conditions, things only go from bad to worse with every man doing all they can to survive.

Almost every advertisement for The Grey with the exception of the poster hints that the film is essentially Liam Neeson Vs. Wolves,.. This reviewer can promise you now, this is not that movie. 

The survivors include Dallas Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie and Ben Bray and they’re all excellent. Liam Neeson of course is the standout in terms of performances, say what you will about his rough voice and physique, he knows how to bring a role like this home. The characters in The Grey are not one dimensional action heroes, they are men who miss their families and simply want to go home. Ottway’s strength as a leader comes from the memories of his wife who left him some time ago. There’s a spiritual and philosophical core to the film amongst the blood shed, although not all of it incredibly well written, there is something profound in its ideas. 

The Grey is a very intense film, there isn’t a single second when you’re not edge, from the plane crash (which is one of the best this reviewer’s ever seen) to the wolves themselves, they appear from the darkness and they never give up, they want these guys out of their territory and the results aren’t rosy. There are jump scares, but they’re very few and far between, they have a purpose, like the characters, you’re kept alert and aware of each scene and what it could bring.

There are almost a million ways that The Grey could’ve been just another PG-13 loud and idiotic hollywood summer flick, but it’s quite the contrary, and that’s all thanks to director Joe Carnahan (Smokin’ Aces, Narc) say what you will about his previous films but the man knows how to direct great set pieces. His sense of timing is almost perfect and focuses on the characters in the situation rather than the grand scale of the situation itself. This is not an action movie, but is still more exciting than most of the ones released as of recent. 

The fact that films this intense aren’t made anymore is a real shame. The Grey doesn’t rely on a loud and self explanatory score to keep the tension going, there are moments of silence that are simply perfect, whether it’s the characters sitting around a fire talking about their loved ones or awaiting death in the form of dinner to a pack of hungry wolves. 

There is no sunshine to be seen in this snow storm of terror and survival, it’s depressing and rough, but as said, for good reason.
Liam Neeson in The Grey (2012) Movie Image

The film isn’t without its flaws however, the screenplay written by Joe Carnahan at times is lacking, forced dialogue between the characters in the more reflective moments, but in saying that dialogue shines in other moments throughout the film, so there’s a case of the good really outweighing the bad. The wolves which serve as a great villain and scenes where they pop up and make just about every audiences heart skip a beat are effective, however, they’re essentially a plot device, and can become tiring when you’re engaged in a scene which you know could very well be ruined by a surprise wolf attack. 90% of the time it works, but there are a few moments when it doesn’t.

 The Grey is a great movie, it never shy’s away for a single second and makes you feel EVERYTHING. If you miss a good character film that you can invest some emotion in and finally get something back… See this without a moment’s hesitation.

Oh and despite the fact that this is an intense drama, Liam Neeson is still a badass and he does propose a fist fight with wolves in one scene… now with that in mind, do you need any more persuading? If so, just remember, Channing Tatum’s new movie’s out at around the same time, would you like to give him your hard earned fifteen bucks for pouting or to the guy who wants to do more than dance with wolves?

9/10 

Photos courtesy of Rope Of Silicon, Beyond Hollywood and Movie Banter

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Film Reviews

 
 
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