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“Moonrise Kingdom” Trailer

January 13, 2012 Leave a comment

I suppose it’s never too early to start getting excited for next year. In my case, with my feelings of malaise and relative fatigue from this relatively underwhelming 2011 season, I honestly can’t wait to get on with it. Right now, I’m trying to be patient with these final months before I can get to my Top 25 Most Anticipated List. Granted it won’t be released until two months into the new year, but let’s be real. Not much of value is going to be coming out before March that will be missed from said list.

One film that will definitely make its way into my schedule is Wes Anderson’s latest quirky, operatic tale, “Moonrise Kingdom” It’s a simple story of puppy love that drives a small town into pure insanity. The film’s cast includes a few of the writer/director’s regulars, including Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, as well as some exciting newcomers like Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton and Frances McDormand.

I’m not gonna lie. Wes Anderson is a great filmmaker, though I do not hold him up to the same auteuristic pedestal that so many of his devoted fans do. I believe that “The Royal Tenenbaums” is a near comedic masterpiece and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is one of the most inventive and entertaining animated films of the last decade. The rest of his work, I can take or leave. This project, on the other hand, has me strangely intrigued. Perhaps its the notion of Anderson taking on the theme of adolescent romance as a primary topic. Seems like a match made in heaven.

I could also listen to Bill Murray say that final line of the trailer, over and over.

Without further adieu, here’s the new trailer:

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And the Wheels Started Turning…

December 3, 2011 2 comments

Okay. Take a second. Deep breath…there we go. It’s been a bit of a big week with a lot to take in. However, this is just the opening salvo, and some much heavier ones are soon to come. However, in the last several days, we’ve had two extremely influential critics groups weigh in along with nominations announced by one of the more prestigious awards bodies in the country. So, while the jigsaw puzzle is far from complete, we’re getting a glimpse of the outline through the forming edges.

Let’s start with the antsiest of the lot, who just couldn’t wait their turn in line. The New York Film Critics Circle, being about as bigheaded as a group of big apple critics could be, pushed their awards announcement up by about two weeks. This was in an attempt to better influence the Oscars and separate themselves from the other critics. In case there was a critical darling such as “The Social Network” of yesteryear, they at least wanted to make it seem as though it were their idea. This has, honestly, put a rotten taste in the mouth of the whole awards season. The circle defied convention and tradition, forced movies to hurry their final touches in order to be screened in time, didn’t care to take a moment’s pause to reflect on their decisions and in the end made some really safe and traditional decisions from a group that usually champions the edgy and bold. I really must say…for shame.

For their high honors, the NYFCC went with “The Artist,” the silent film with a heart of gold. I definitely am looking forward to catching this one, though not quite as much as others. Director Michael Hazanavicius also took home high honors. By the time that Best Picture rolled in, I was hoping that “Moneyball” would pull through, after it had already won Best Actor for Brad Pitt and Best Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zallian. “Tree of Life” also had a pretty big day, winning Best Cinematography, sharing in Brad Pitt’s Best Actor award and Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain (who also won for “Take Shelter” and “The Help”).

The other two acting awards were picked up by Albert Brooks for “Drive” and Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady.” I’m straight-up not wild about Brooks who gives a couple of great scenes in only a good performance. Not worthy of any high accolades. As far as Meryl Streep is concerned, I’m on the fence. Whenever La Streep is once again up for her third Oscar, I just can’t decide whether I want it or not. As weird as it sounds, she is more due for an Oscar than practically any other actress, being that she is widely considered to be the greatest living performer and yet hasn’t won gold in nearly thirty years. However, when it comes to critics, Meryl is the safest choice that can be made. It’d be nicer to see some hutzpah with a choice like Tilda Swinton or Olivia Colman.

“The Descendants” turned out to be S.O.L., a surprise considering that Alexander Payne’s previous film, “Sideways,” swept this particular group, taking awards for Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress and Screenplay. George Clooney especially had a bad day, even missing out on a Best Actor nomination from the Spirits. However, he and the film lucked out that the National Board of Review voted differently, so much that it would seem they from a different planet (when really they’re centered out of the same city).

Here, Payne’s festival favorite came up big, taking down the awards for Best Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Sadly, the prizes for Picture and Director went to “Hugo.” While it’s nice to see a wrench thrown in the works, this choice baffles me based on merit. Personally, the immensity of critical love for this film, in general, blows my mind. Pretty and heartwarming, but low on entertainment, conflict and drama. Christopher Plummer received Best Supporting Actor for his career-best performance in “Beginners,” hopefully asserting himself as the man to beat. And where NYFCC dropped the ball, the usually straight-as-an-arrow NBR chose the dicey performance of Tilda Swinton in “We Need to Talk About Kevin” for their Best Lead Actress. God, I can’t wait to see that film.

Quite strangely, the three big winners from the NYFCC went home almost completely empty-handed. “The Tree of Life” and “The Artist” only received spots on the NBR’s top ten, while “Moneyball” disturbingly did not even make that cut. However, they weren’t the unluckiest films of the day. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” failed to receive even a single nomination from anyone. If it continues to fly under the radar with critics, it will need a massive push from the guilds to stay alive.

Also, there’s “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” The big hit at Sundance failed to even make the NBR’s top ten independent films and received only a pair of acting nominations from the Independent Spirits, an organization many would have thought the film would have championed. It has a giant hole to climb out of if it wants to stay in any kind of Oscar contention. Personally, I’m not too bummed. A great concept that failed to achieve an emotional surge and tries so hard for subtlety, but often comes off as light-handed. I do hope that Elizabeth Olsen is able to pick up some steam for her deeply nuanced performance.

So, barring any surprise announcements from critics, we’re being given a bit of a lull for the next eight days. However, starting on Sunday, December 11th, it’s going to be difficult to find a busier week. Kicking off with honors from the Los Angeles and Boston Film Critics, we’ll then be receiving nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, the Broadcast Film Critics and Golden Globes, one day after another. Until then, I’ll be reporting anything I can and probably re-evaluating my current Oscar predictions. Stay tuned.

National Board of Review Crowns “Hugo”

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

This is quite a disturbing bit of news this afternoon, at least in my mind. While I’m glad that “The Artist” didn’t take this down and assert itself not only as the critical darling of the year, but also the frontrunner for Best Picture. There’s just way too many more qualified films to give this to.

Plenty of other things to talk about here, including the disturbing snubbage in all categories of “Moneyball,” but I’ll get into all of that in an all-encompassing post of the entire week later.

Here’s the full list of winners, including their Top Ten Lists:

Best Picture: “Hugo”

Best Director: Martin Scorsese – “Hugo”

Best Actor: George Clooney – “The Descendants”

Best Actress: Tilda Swinton – “We Need to Talk About Kevin”

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”

Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley – “The Descendants”

Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser – “50/50”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash – “The Descendants”

Best Animated Feature: “Rango”

Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones – “Like Crazy”

Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara – “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Debut Director: J.C. Chandor – “Margin Call”

Best Ensemble: “The Help”

Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (“A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Shame,” “X-Men: First Class”)

NBR Freedom of Expression: “Crime After Crime”

NBR Freedom of Expression: “Pariah”

Best Foreign Language Film: “A Separation”

Best Documentary: “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film

Top Films (in alphabetical order)
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Drive”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
“The Ides of March”
“J. Edgar”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
“13 Assassins”
“Elite Squad: The Enemy Within”
“Footnote”
“Le Havre”
“Point Blank”

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order) 
“Born to be Wild”
“Buck”
“George Harrison: Living in the Material World”
“Project Nim”
“Senna”

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
“50/50”
“Another Earth”
“Beginners”
“A Better Life”
“Cedar Rapids”
“Margin Call”
“Shame”
“Take Shelter”
“We Need To Talk About Kevin”
“Win Win”

Golden Globe Predictions 2010

December 13, 2010 Leave a comment

So, as many of you know, I hate the Golden Globes. They’re a joke. The HFPA is a group of about 90 foreign film journalists who reside in Hollywood, almost none of them have anyone ever heard of. They make some of the most pedestrian choices that can be made for awards presentation. Once in a while, they have a good idea, but for the most part, they either go with the grain or go the blandest route. More than anything else, however, they are STARFUCKERS, excuse my language. But it’s true. These awards are meant to cater to movie stars and their own popularity with said persons. They’re a joke.

That being said, they are still one of the most influential and popular awards shows of the year, and therefore I will pay them credence.

Here are my predictions for the 68th Golden Globe Nominations, announced tomorrow morning. The full list after the jump.

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
“The King’s Speech”
“The Social Network”
“The Fighter”
“Black Swan”
“The Ghost Writer”
“Inception”
Alt: “Another Year”

BEST PICTURE, MUSICAL or COMEDY
“The Kids Are All Right”
“Alice in Wonderland”
“Made in Dagenham”
“Burlesque”
“Love and Other Drugs”
Alt: “Nowhere Boy”

Read more…