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2012 Oscars Winner Predictions – Round One

January 29, 2012 2 comments

Well, there’s no turning back now. There’s no more debating to be done on the Academy Award nominees. No more discussion of who’s too young or too old, too white or too black, too new or two powerful, and no more weighing out each person’s clout within their particular groups of peers. The nominations are in, and it’s a whole new ballgame. Some frontrunners have fallen and others still sit at the top. Yet, I fully believe that barely a single category is the same as it was three days ago.

Instead of just highlighting a few select categories and offering my thoughts, I’m going to go through each award, one by one, and discuss how things have shaped up.

See the full list after the jump:

BEST PICTURE

Despite a couple shifts in the power balance a few days ago, this is an award whose frontrunner hasn’t shifted at all. “Hugo” may have beat it out by one to become the nomination leader (and thus the only competition for the award), but “The Artist” has a massive lead. It will take a whole lot to knock it from the top of the ladder. “The Help,” once considered a possible underdog upset, showed up little support, including a lack of the crucial Best Editing nomination. Meanwhile, “The Descendants” has lost this battle in the guilds. “Hugo” is the only film that really holds any kind of chance, but only in theory.
MY PREDICTION: “The Artist”
SPOILER: “Hugo” Read more…

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Motion Picture Sound Editors Announce 2012 Nominations

January 20, 2012 1 comment

I can’t say I’m as enthralled by the MPSE’s nominations. They just don’t have the same oomph and hutzpah that their younger brother, the Cinema Audio Society, seems to exhibit. It might have to do with their obvious indecisiveness, citing forty-seven nominees split into seven different categories. I do, in fact, understand the difference in editing both music and dialogue, yet, when you can’t narrow it down past eight nominees for ADR editing, you’re just not trying hard enough.

That brings me to the second point which is quality. When you’re nominating films like “Hop,” “Abduction” and “Priest” for actual awards, those films better have sound editing on par with “Saving Private Ryan.” Otherwise, you look just about as stupid as the Academy’s make-up branch when they nominate the latest Eddie Murphy or Adam Sandler flick. Some films just deserve to be forgotten and by nominating them for awards, you’re just not helping anyone. And “Quarantine II: Terminal”? Seriously? I have no words.

As far as what these awards mean for Oscar, one thing’s for sure. Even if the Academy’s visual effects corridor has shunned it, “Super 8” has certainly made its make in regards to its sound. After picking up a CAS nom yesterday, the film dominated the MPSE with three mentions, in other words, every category that it was eligible in. I think it would be safe to put money on Abrams’ film making it in for at least one, if not both of the AMPAS sound categories.

See the full list of nominees after the cut:

BEST SOUND EDITING: SOUND EFFECTS AND FOLEY IN A FEATURE FILM
“Drive”
“Fast Five”
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”
“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Super 8”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Read more…

2012 Cinema Audio Society Nominations

January 19, 2012 1 comment

I’m not gonna lie. I always get truly psyched about this particular guild every year. It’s not that I have extensive experience in the field of sound mixing, nor have a particular penchant for the medium (though I certainly enjoy a great 5.1 mix on my home theater system as much as the next person). I suppose I get enthralled by the CAS just because of the massive wrench that they usually throw into the works.

This is no ordinary wrench, though. The CAS often has a tendency to name some completely unexpected sound mixes, ones that were once considered done and out of the race. A person might be immediately inclined to dismiss these nominees and say to themselves, “There’s no way the Academy will go this route.” Yet, that’s the crazy thing about the CAS is that they aren’t just a small part of the race, they really do define it. In the last ten years, the CAS has correctly forecasted at least 4/5 Oscar nominees six times. The other four years, they were 3/5. In the Society’s eighteen year existence, only once has their lineup been as low as a 2/5 matchup, and never less than that. Not a bad record.

The nominees for this year’s Cinema Audio Society are as follows:

“Hanna”

“Hugo”

“Moneyball”

“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”

“Super 8”

When it comes to these nominees, I just have to stop and observe a moment of unadulterated joy for the recognition paid to the sound crew of “Hanna.” In my mind, this is, and has been from 2011’s outset, one of the year’s most intricate and powerful works of audio. After viewing it again on blu ray, my opinion has not changed. Listening to this sound mix on a 5.1 system is like having God in your living room. Fabulous work that, even if it does not go beyond this point, is worthy of it’s moment of glory.

Among the rest of the nominees, the second biggest surprise was the inclusion of “Moneyball.” This might be the most easy to dismiss pick of the bunch, but there’s a lot going on in that mix. Plus, Sorkin dialogue does take a lot of post-production audio to make it work. I can’t say I’m too thrilled to see the fourth “Pirates” movie show up here. I mean, come on. Do we really need to keep awarding this franchise for beating itself to death and taking the audience down with it? And speaking of a film beating itself to death, one such flick that wholly deserved a nomination here and failed was “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” The film itself is nothing to be proud of, but every two years, this franchise astounds us with it’s insanely detailed aural accomplishments and it should have taken the “Pirates” slot.

It’s nice to see “Super 8” pick up some steam, here. I was close to considering it down and out after it got eliminated from the Visual Effects finalists. Yet, there’s some great work happening amongst all that alien ruckus that Oscar should consider. And finally there’s “Hugo,” the one name here that I don’t think anyone was surprised to see. Don’t be shocked if it goes on to pocket the award for both this and the perennial honors in February.

In closing, I leave you with this clip from the film, “Hanna.” While it’s impossible to truly appreciate the sound mix without a high quality, multi-channel playback, this scene, alone deserves all the credit in the world. My advisement: rent or buy this movie on blu ray as soon as possible, and go ahead and buy a home theater system just to watch it on.

If Posters Told the Truth….

Wow. I stumbled upon a few of these over at Sasha Stone’s Awardsdaily and then hit the motherload. These are hilarious. In some cases, they’re reaching, but in most, DEAD ON. It’s also worth noticing the great craftsmanship in some of these. They look absolutely spectacular. I’m not sure who exactly to give due credit for designing these, but props to them.

Some of the highlights definitely include “The Tree of Life” and the painfully honest “Transformers 3.” Granted, some of these films do have potential for decency or even greatness. And yet, these posters advertise what all of us are really thinking, even if we’re looking forward to them. Without a doubt, my favorite of the lot is the “Harry Potter” one, featuring a quote that I have been saying to myself for longer than I can remember.

Find your summer favorite in the selections I’ve made after the jump. If it’s not there, check out the full load at the The Shiznit. Enjoy. Read more…

Official “Transformers 3” Trailer

April 28, 2011 3 comments

Well, here it finally is. Maybe it’s sad that I’m totally pumped for this for the sole reason that I’m a Chicago resident. Maybe this is Einstein’s theory of insanity at play in hoping that this film is actually better than the first misstep and the second FAILURE.

And yet, I just don’t care. This movie looks cool and appears to feature the Chicago skyline more than…well…maybe any movie I’ve ever seen. It pretty much got torn up. The scene in which 300 North LaSalle (which I ride past everyday) get’s completely cut in half looks particularly cool. What can I say? I’m pumped.

Here is the trailer for this summer blockbuster. Please, God, let it not shame the city it’s shot in.

Here is the Apple HD version, as well.

Best Super Bowl Movie Previews

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m not always a loyal Super Bowl watcher, but for this time around, I had an even greater sense of malaise towards it than normal. I live in Chicago and grew up in Cleveland. Therefore, seeing the arch rivals of both of my teams battle it out wasn’t exactly generating any huge interest in my mind. No matter who won, I would be pissed. Therefore, I found my refuge in the ads of the night, in particular, the film previews.

Aside from “Battle: Los Angeles” (which I’ve already posted quite a bit of footage for, already), there were three teasers that I had me pretty stoked. “Cowboys vs. Aliens” upped their amount of footage on display from the teaser released last year. Still looks as fun as ever. We also got our first look at J.J. Abrams incredibly secret project “Super 8.” The film literally looks like a direct crossover between “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and “The Iron Giant,” and that’s not a bad get. Having Steven Spielberg’s name plastered on it didn’t alter that perception.

However, there was one teaser that absolutely stood above the rest. Unbelievably, and I mean UNBELIEVABLY, it is “Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.” Let’s face it, that spot was awesome. Maybe it was the press release a few weeks back in which Michael Bay, himself, admitted that “Revenge of the Fallen” was a giant turd and he promised that this one would get it right. Maybe it’s the news that “The Dark Knight Rises” production might be pulling completely out of Chicago and it was amazing to see the second city featured so strongly in a film. Maybe it’s the fact that my girlfriend and about twenty of my friends worked on the film. Whatever it is, I have surprisingly, and possibly shamefully, become incredibly excited for this film. God help us all.

Check out the spots for all 3 films below:

“Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon” Teaser Trailer

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Normally, I really wouldn’t give much of a damn about this movie, especially after the previous sequel was a dark, brown smear of shit on the world of cinema. However, be it that a good portion of “Dark of the Moon” was just filmed in my home of Chicago, and being that half of my friends, including my girlfriend worked on it, I figure I would give the film its props. Who knows? Maybe this new installment will shock us all with its brilliance. If anything does it, it will be the newly cast Victoria’s Secret model, as if Megan Fox didn’t act badly enough.

This is me not holding my breath. Enjoy!

Or check out the iTunes version HERE.