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My 2012 Top Ten List

February 18, 2013 Leave a comment

It seems ironic and more than a little redeeming that around this same time last year, I ran my mouth off about 2011 being one of the worst quality years for filmmaking in some time. Well, the gods of cinema seem to have answered my prayers, for I don’t think I could have asked for a more diverse and memorable year. Just working on this list is a treat, and I hope so will reading it.

Without further adieu, let’s start with this year’s runners-up:

_____________

dark_knight_rises_top_ten“The Dark Knight Rises”

Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan

While living up to its predecessor was a bit too much to ask for, Nolan’s final chapter is still a head above any other comic book film in this year, or really any other. The new characters are sharp, the villains are brutal and the epic tale’s message is as poignant as ever.

 

 

Read more…

Final Predictions for the 85th Academy Awards

January 10, 2013 Leave a comment

oscars_nominations_final_predictions

With the clock ticking, unfortunately, there’s not much time for discussion or justification. I’m just going to have to spit these out and see what happens in a matter of hours. Enjoy, and don’t forget to check back to see the results in the morning.

BEST PICTURE

1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Argo”
4. “Les Miserables”
5. “Silver Linings Playbook”
6. “Life of Pi”
7. “Moonrise Kingdom”
8. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
9. “Skyfall”
10. “Amour”

Alt 1: Django Unchained
Alt 2: “The Master”

(NOTE: Again, Best Picture could end up being anywhere between 5 and 10 nominees, so in this case, you can use the ideology of “if there are five…if there are six…etc”)

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”
3. Ben Affleck – “Argo”
4. Ang Lee – “Life of Pi”
5. Tom Hooper” – “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: Michael Haneke – “Amour
Alt 2: Quentin Tarantino – “Django Unchained”

BEST LEADING ACTOR

1. Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
2. Denzel Washington – “Flight”
3. Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
4. John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
5. Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”

Alt 1: Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alt 2: Richard Gere – “Arbitrage”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS

1. Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
2. Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
3. Marion Cotillard – “Rust and Bone”
4. Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”
5. Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”

Alt 1: Quevenzhane Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Alt 2: Helen Mirren – “Hitchcock”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
3. Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
4. Alan Arkin – “Argo”
5. Leonardo DiCaprio – “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike”
Alt 2: Christoph Waltz” – “Django Unchained”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
2. Sally Field – “Lincoln”
3. Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
4. Amy Adams – “The Master”
5. Ann Dowd – “Compliance”

Alt 1: Nicole Kidman – “The Paperboy”
Alt 2: Judi Dench – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. “Lincoln”
2. “Argo”
3. “Silver Linings Playbook”
4. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
5. “Life of Pi”

Alt 1: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Alt 2: “The Sessions”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “Moonrise Kingdom”
3. “The Master”
4. “Amour”
5. “Looper”

Alt 1: “Django Unchained”
Alt 2: “Middle of Nowhere”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

1. “The Gatekeepers”
2. “The Invisible War”
3. “Searching for Sugar Man”
4. “The House I Live In”
5. “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God”

Alt 1: “How to Survive a Plague”
Alt 2: “5 Broken Cameras”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

1. “Brave”
2. “Frankenweenie”
3. “Wreck It Ralph”
4. “Paranorman”
5. “Rise of the Guardians”

Alt 1: “The Painting”
Alt 2: “Zarafa”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

1. “Amour”
2. “The Intouchables”
3. “War Witch”
4. “A Royal Affair”
5. “No”

Alt 1: “Sister”
Alt 2: “Kon Tiki”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. “Life of Pi”
2. “Skyfall”
3. “Lincoln”
4. “The Master”
5. “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: “Zero Dark Thirty”
Alt 2: “Anna Karenina”

BEST EDITING

1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “Argo”
3. “Skyfall”
4. “Lincoln”
5. “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alt 2: “Life of Pi”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1. “Les Miserables”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Anna Karenina”
4. “The Master”
5. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Alt 1: “Cloud Atlas”
Alt 2: “The Dark Knight Rises”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

1. “Lincoln”
2. “Les Miserables”
3. “Anna Karenina”
4. “Django Unchained”
5. “Mirror Mirror”

Alt 1: “A Royal Affair”
Alt 2: “Snow White and the Huntsman”

BEST SOUND MIXING

1. “Les Miserables”
2. “Skyfall”
3. “Zero Dark Thirty”
4. “The Avengers”
5. “The Dark Knight Rises”

Alt 1: “Lincoln”
Alt 2: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

1. “Skyfall”
2. “The Dark Knight Rises”
3. “The Avengers”
4. “Les Miserables”
5. “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “Zero Dark Thirty”
Alt 2: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1. “Life of Pi”
2. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
3. “The Avengers”
4. “Prometheus”
5. “The Dark Knight Rises”

Alt 1: “Cloud Atlas”
Alt 2: “John Carter”

BEST MAKEUP EFFECTS

1. “Lincoln”
2. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
3. “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: “Men in Black 3″
Alt 2: “Looper”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

1. “Life of Pi”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Argo”
4. “Anna Karenina”
5. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Alt 1: “The Master”
Alt 2: “Zero Dark Thirty”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

1. “Skyfall” – “Skyfall”
2. “Suddenly” – “Les Miserables”
3. “Learn Me Right” – “Brave”
4. “Still Alive” – “Paul Williams Still Alive”
5. “Ancora Qui” – “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “From Here to the Moon and Back” – “Joyful Noise”
Alt 2: “Song of the Lonely Mountain” – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Updated 2013 Oscar Predictions – 12/29

December 30, 2012 Leave a comment

lincoln_oscar_predictions

It’s less than two weeks left until the big morning comes, but with everything that’s happened thus far, I thought it would be a good time to re-assess things. Obviously, “Zero Dark Thirty” has largely positioned itself at the head of the pack and Daniel Day Lewis is lined up for another coronation. However, many of the major categories still seem much more open then normal.

In the next two weeks, the guilds will really start to have their say. Throughout the last decade or so, these union groups nominations have very tight links to the eventual nominations. On the other hand, this year will be a unique one. For the first time, the DGA nominations won’t be announced until after Oscar ballots are due in. Therefore, this year, the DGA, which was always believed to have a large impact on not only Best Director, but the Best Picture category as well. Or perhaps this year will prove that theory wrong, in the event that we see the two organizations line-up without any connection proves that they really do think alike. We shall see.

Here’s my latest round of predictions for the 85th Academy Awards:

BEST PICTURE

1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Argo”
4. “Les Miserables”
5. “Silver Linings Playbook”
6. “Moonrise Kingdom”
7. “Life of Pi”
8. “Amour”
9. “The Master”
10. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Alt 1: Django Unchained
Alt 2: “Skyfall”

BEST DIRECTOR

1. Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. Steven Spielberg – “Lincoln”
3. Ben Affleck – “Argo”
4. Tom Hooper – “Les Miserables”
5. David O’Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”

Alt 1: Ang Lee – “Life of Pi”
Alt 2: Michael Haneke – “Amour”

BEST LEADING ACTOR

1. Daniel Day-Lewis – “Lincoln”
2. Denzel Washington – “Flight”
3. Hugh Jackman – “Les Miserables”
4. John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
5. Joaquin Phoenix – “The Master”

Alt 1: Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alt 2: Richard Gere – “Arbitrage”

BEST LEADING ACTRESS

1. Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
2. Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”
3. Marion Cotillard – “Rust and Bone”
4. Naomi Watts – “The Impossible”
5. Emmanuelle Riva – “Amour”

Alt 1: Quevenzhane Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Alt 2: Rachel Weisz – “The Deep Blue Sea”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

1. Tommy Lee Jones – “Lincoln”
2. Philip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”
3. Robert De Niro – “Silver Linings Playbook”
4. Alan Arkin – “Argo”
5. Leonardo DiCaprio – “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike”
Alt 2: Eddie Redmayne – “Les Miserables”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1. Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”
2. Sally Field – “Lincoln”
3. Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
4. Amy Adams – “The Master”
5. Ann Dowd – “Compliance”

Alt 1: Nicole Kidman – “The Paperboy”
Alt 2: Judi Dench – “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

1. “Lincoln”
2. “Argo”
3. “Silver Linings Playbook”
4. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
5. “Life of Pi”

Alt 1: “The Sessions”
Alt 2: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “The Master”
3. “Moonrise Kingdom”
4. “Amour”
5. “Looper”

Alt 1: “Django Unchained”
Alt 2: “Seven Psychopaths”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

1. “The Gatekeepers”
2. “The Invisible War”
3. “Searching for Sugar Man”
4. “The House I Live In”
5. “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God”

Alt 1: “How to Survive a Plague”
Alt 2: “Bully”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

1. “Brave”
2. “Frankenweenie”
3. “Wreck It Ralph”
4. “Paranorman”
5. “Rise of the Guardians”

Alt 1: “The Painting”
Alt 2: “Zarafa”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

1. “Amour”
2. “The Intouchables”
3. “A Royal Affair”
4. “War Witch”
5. “Sister”

Alt 1: “No”
Alt 2: “Kon Tiki”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. “Life of Pi”
2. “The Master”
3. “Skyfall”
4. “Lincoln”
5. “Zero Dark Thirty”

Alt 1: “Les Miserables”
Alt 2: “Django Unchained”

BEST EDITING

1. “Zero Dark Thirty”
2. “Argo”
3. “Lincoln”
4. “Skyfall”
5. “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: “Silver Linings Playbook”
Alt 2: “LIfe of Pi”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1. “Les Miserables”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Anna Karenina”
4. “The Master”
5. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

Alt 1: “Cloud Atlas”
Alt 2: “Moonrise Kingdom”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

1. “Lincoln”
2. “Les Miserables”
3. “Anna Karenina”
4. “Mirror Mirror”
5. “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “A Royal Affair”
Alt 2: “Snow White and the Huntsman”

BEST SOUND MIXING

1. “Les Miserables”
2. “Skyfall”
3. “The Dark Knight Rises”
4. “The Avengers”
5. “Zero Dark Thirty”

Alt 1: “Django Unchained”
Alt 2: “Life of Pi”

BEST SOUND EFFECTS EDITING

1. “Skyfall”
2. “The Dark Knight Rises”
3. “The Avengers”
4. “Les Miserables”
5. “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “Zero Dark Thirty”
Alt 2: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1. “Life of Pi”
2. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
3. “The Avengers”
4. “Prometheus”
5. “The Dark Knight Rises”

Alt 1: “Cloud Atlas”
Alt 2: “John Carter”

BEST MAKEUP EFFECTS

1. “Lincoln”
2. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
3. “Les Miserables”

Alt 1: “Looper”
Alt 2: “Men in Black 3”

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

1. “Life of Pi”
2. “Lincoln”
3. “Argo”
4. “Anna Karenina”
5. “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Alt 1: “The Master”
Alt 2: “Skyfall”

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

1. “Skyfall” – “Skyfall”
2. “Suddenly” – “Les Miserables”
3. “Learn Me Right” – “Brave”
4. “Still Alive” – “Paul Williams Still Alive”
5. “Ancora Qui” – “Django Unchained”

Alt 1: “From Here to the Moon and Back” – “Joyful Noise”
Alt 2: “Still Dream” – “Rise of the Guardians”

 

NOMINATIONS TALLY

12 – “Lincoln”
11 – “Les Miserables”
7 – “The Master”
7 – “Zero Dark Thirty”
6 – “Argo”
5 – “Life of Pi”
5 – “Silver Linings Playbook”
5 – “Skyfall”
4 – “Amour”
4 – “Django Unchained”
3 – “Anna Karenina”
3 – “The Avengers”
3 – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
3 – “The Dark Knight Rises”
3 – “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”
2 – “Brave”
2 – “Moonrise Kingdom”
2 – “The Sessions”

“The Dark Knight Rises” – New Photos and Promos

November 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Even with the buzz of the Oscar season overwhelming every second of my life and so many promising films hitting theaters left and right, it is difficult to deny that in my mind, and probably everyone else’s, one movie continues to dominate the sense of anticipation. That film is obviously “The Dark Knight Rises.” Even though I’m still a little bent out of shape over the fact that Pittsburgh was chosen to replace Chicago as the Gotham City backdrop (I mean really, who are they kidding?), the excitement towards the closing chapter of one of the most extraordinary and game-changing franchises in movie history is undeniable.

Therefore, I find it necessary to report some of this extraordinarily exciting news reported in the new issue of Empire Magazine. The periodical contains the first actual stills from the film reel itself as well as some revealing interviews with both Christopher Nolan and Tom Hardy. The two of them discuss some interesting facets of the film which could perhaps give an inkling to a few plot details.

Thanks to Hardy, we now have a clearer image of what kind of villain Bane will serve in the film. The answer is a pretty damn harsh one:

“He’s brutal, brutal. He’s expedient delivery of brutality. And you know, he’s a big dude. He’s a big dude who’s incredibly clinical, in the fact that he has a result-based and orientated fighting style…Everything is thought out way before. He’s hit you, he’s already hit somebody else. It’s not about fighting. It’s just about carnage with Bane. He’s a smashing machine. He’s a wrecking ball. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed, it’s nasty. Anything from small joint manipulation to crushing skulls, crushing rib cages, stamping on shins and knees and necks and collarbones and snapping heads off and tearing his fists through chests, ripping out spinal columns. It’s anything he can get away with. He is a terrorist in his mentality as well as brutal action. So he’s horrible. A really horrible piece of work.”

Wow. Well it will be interesting if Nolan (or the MPAA) actually allows the removal of spinal columns in the next Batman film or if Hardy was just being sarcastic and caught up in the moment. As far as Christopher Nolan is concerned, he had this to say about Bane and what we can expect Batman to be facing in this new episode:

“With Bane, we are looking to give Batman a physical challenge that he hasn’t had before. With our choice of villain and with our choice of story we’re testing Batman both physically as well as mentally. Also, in terms of finishing our story and increasing its scope, we were trying to craft an epic, so the physicality of the film became very important. Bane’s a very different kind of villain than Batman has faced before in our films. He’s a great sort of movie monster, but with an incredible brain, and that was a side of him that hadn’t been tapped before.”

Along with this, the director also offered an interesting tidbit of information concerning the time of the film. Unlike most sequels, this one will not be picking up exactly from where the previous chapter left off:

“It’s really all about finishing Batman and Bruce Wayne’s story. We left him in a very precarious place. Perhaps surprisingly for some people, our story picks up quite a bit later, eight years after The Dark Knight. So he’s an older Bruce Wayne — he’s not in a great state.”

You put all of this together, and one question bares very strongly in my mind: just how dark is Nolan going to take this film? Everything that we’ve seen and heard points to a possibility that the film’s predecessor, widely acclaimed for its realism and unsentimentality, could seem like a Disney movie compared to this one. There’s one quite cataclysmic event that some journalists and enthusiasts are contemplating. Between Bruce Wayne’s older state, the brutality of Bane and Nolan’s description of Batman being tested both physically and mentally like never before, one has to wonder if Bane will, in fact, break Batman’s back. Those who have read or have a decent knowledge of the comics know that this event does occur in Knightfall. Perhaps this will be Nolan’s way of closing out the Batman series, and to be even more speculative, maybe bringing Catwoman in to take on the mantel. She has already been seen in photos riding the Batpod.

The internet is like a sewing circle of gossip and rumors and all we can do is wait for the next dollop of news. Supposedly, we will not have to wait that long. As Nolan did with “The Dark Knight” a prologue is being planned for theatrical release. The first six minutes of the film are going to be shown as a complete short before IMAX screenings of “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.” I personally wish they could have attached it to a film that I actually planned on seeing, but I’m sure it will pop up on the internet sooner or later. The prologue featured the Joker’s bank heist. Who knows exactly what this one will feature. Though, it’s been made clear that Bane’s mask and antecedent injury is explained in the early scenes of the film so perhaps we’ll see something along those lines.

Below are the rest of the photos released in Empire, as well as their cover series:

Batman: “Begins, Falls, Rises” Triptych Poster

July 19, 2011 2 comments

Okay. I understand that lately this site has been going a little nutty over anything to do with Christopher Nolan’s new film, although how can anyone really hold it against me? Yet, I promise that after this I will try to cool it for a while. Meanwhile, this gag was just too eye-catching to pass up. I found this over at Sasha Stone’s Awardsdaily, who apparently dug it up at Modernismism.

This is a fantastic effort made towards finding a true thematic harmony for this soon-to-be trilogy. I really appreciate the fluidity created between the three different color schemes, balancing the changing tones cast by the films’ director. It certainly gives a clue into what we can expect from this final chapter for they seem to get bleaker and more sinister as the trilogy progresses.

I would love to have this poster on my wall. Kudos to whoever’s behind this impressive piece of film art.

“The Dark Knight Rises” Teaser Trailer Released

Well, folks, here it is. Warner Brothers actually took the social networking route and debuted it on both Facebook and Twitter, rather than on an official website or iTunes. I must say that the trailer does display a bit more footage than I thought (even though people are already bitching about a lack of visuals). One thing’s for sure, Christopher Nolan has not before, nor will he (apparently) leave behind the gritty elements of realism that have made his franchise so immensely popular. This chapter looks about as cut and dry as anything I’ve ever seen. It appears that Nolan really knows what he’s doing in this final installment and I’m not expecting any disappointment.

As far as the footage goes: stellar. Gary Oldman on the hospital bed was probably the last thing that anyone was expecting to see, but it works. And the final shot of Bane approaching a beleaguered Batman in some kind of seedy industrial setting was chilling. Nothing on Catwoman, yet, but we’ve still got plenty of time. If this film follows the same publicity pattern as the last film, we can probably expect a second trailer with more footage by January, followed by a final piece by perhaps March or April.

One more thing. Before seeing this trailer, I had little to no respect for the film’s title. However, after getting a very loose glimpse of the film’s plot and tone, maybe the “Rises” actually works for it.

Check out the HD trailer below. Embedding has been disabled, therefore just play the video and follow the link to youtube.

“The Dark Knight Rises” Joke Poster

There’s not much to this. I just think that, what with all of the guessing and analysis over the poster and upcoming teaser, that this is just downright hilarious. Enjoy spending a few minutes looking this over.

Check out the actual poster, free of red ink, here: “The Dark Knight Rises” Poster