Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Predictions(and Blunders)

Oscar time? Okay!

So, I'm going to go down the awards that I care about or feel like I'm okay talking about and then I'll tell you what I think should win. Got it? Okay.

Best Actor: Benedict McCumberbuns(The Imitation Game)

If The Imitation Game isn't going to win Best Picture, then Sir Sherlock Holmes is bound to win this award. Why? Well, he plays in a Biopic set in WWII about a guy with a mental disorder who happens to be gay.

This is just pure Oscar Gold, isn't it?

Real Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal(Nightcrawler)

What? Were you expecting me to keep to the nominees?

Well, I'm not. One of the weird things The Oscars keep on doing is overlook a lot of special achievements or at least the things that are more interesting. And Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler? It's nothing quite like anything else. Granted, the script helped a lot of this performance, but there isn't going to be anything quite as fascinating as the performance Gyllenhaal gives.

Best Actress:....

Honestly, this is kind of a toss up for me. Meryl Streep isn't here to ruin everything this time and, honestly, I've only seen one of the movies in this line up.

Real Best Actress: Rosamund Pike(Gone Girl)

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl was something else entirely. She gives this weird, creepy effect that's not dissimilar to Gyllenhaal's performance, but also not quite like anything else.

I won't give away anything for those who have still not seen it, but you really should!

Best Support Actor:....

Yeah, kind of at a loss here as well. I've only seen Boyhood of all these movies and honestly.

Real Best Supporting Actor: Dave Bautista(Guardians of the Galaxy)

There was only one actor this year who could deliver the line "Never call me a thesaurus" and have it be the best thing ever.

Honorable Mention: "I am groot!"

Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep(Does it matter which movie?)

I'm not as confident in this prediction, but let's just see what happens.

Real Best Supporting Actress: Rosario Dawson(Top Five)

Weirdly enough, yet not too unsurprisingly, The Oscars came up pretty short when it came to racial in, there isn't any. The only reason why Selma made it as a nominee for best picture was probably because The Oscars were starting to realize how white the whole thing was looking.

Anyways, Top Five was a special kind of movie and Rosario Dawson really made it her own here.

Best Animated Feature: Some movie that isn't going to be The LEGO Movie

Real Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Movie

Maybe The LEGO Movie proved to be a little too critical of everything to make anybody feel comfortable putting this in as a nominee. But, of all the things that make me not respect The Oscars as much as people think I should, this one is it.

Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Holy crap you guys! He made the movie look like it was all done in one take. Unbelievable!

Real Best Director: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Yes, I'm a Wes Anderson fan. Yes, not everyone is going to like his style. But, damn, even with all of the Wes Andersonisms in his new movie, there's still just isn't anything quite like it.


It's really hard for me to pinpoint just one thing as being "The Best" Sometimes, there are some things that make me go "Yeah, this is the one" but a lot of times I'm more like "Damn, guys, it's all good"

But there's nothing quite like The Oscars giving a nominee to American Sniper for...anything.

Like, best Editing? Are you serious? Did we watch the same movie? Find any kind of generic action flick and you'd still have one that was better assembled than American Sniper.

Oh, it's up for Best Picture now?


I've written a review for the movie, but I'm holding off on it until the damn movie has done any real damage.

Best Picture: The Imitation Game(Maybe)

I'm not in the biggest crowd for this prediction. Anything I have to say about why I'm predicting this movie has to do with what I said back when I talked about Benedict CumberMcHandy.

Others are predicting Birdman or Boyhood.

Boyhood seems more likely, but we'll see.

But, man oh man, if they give it to American Sniper....

Real Best Picture: The LEGO Movie

Nothing, nothing, is going to be as big and as bold of an achievement as The LEGO Movie. Usually, when I talk about best picture, I understand why my favorite movie isn't going to get mentioned.

I guess it might be too much for me to expect anything like Scott Pilgrim or The World's End to get more "professional" recognition outside of certain cult followings.

But, damn, The LEGO Movie? Not even up for best animated feature? Only gets a mention of that one catchy song?

I just dunno.

Anyways, yeah, as you might expect, The Grand Budapest Hotel would be my choice if I was restricted to just choosing the nominees but I think the most important film to win would be Selma.

Wouldn't that be something?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Nearly five years ago, Kick-Ass shocked the senses of many adolescent minds everywhere(including yours truly) by giving us a daring, high concept story of how shockingly violent a world could be with real super heroes. While the movie could be called a dark satire on the superhero genre, there was no denying that it was also a lot of fun. Sure, it never really stops being incredibly scary that a ten year old girl could be trained as a heartless assassin, but there was nothing quite as inventive as the scenes that involved her beating the crap out of bad guys.

Matthew Vaughn's next superhero movie was X-Men: First Class, a movie that was good but didn't have the sort of violent, creative edge that made Kick-Ass come to life. But, now, he's back to prove himself again as the master of this gleefully violent, yet earnest kind of film-making he has shown through Kick-Ass with another adaptation of a Mark Millar Comic known as The Kingsman. This time, it's a take down on the James Bond genre and it's nothing quite like anything else.

What's the story? Well, if you've seen the trailer, it almost looks like it could be a James Bond movie by way of Harry Potter, where a kid gets discovered that he has the potential to be somebody great, but the trailers are being really deceptive in that regard. But even the first half of the movie sort of takes you through that kind of story only for the carpet to be pulled to show what this movie is really doing. It turns out that this movie is more of a Bond thriller than even the most recent James Bond movies with Daniel Craig.

In fact, this whole movie could be viewed as a sharp, meta commentary on the whole spy genre, particularly with the Bond movies. There isn't a lot of subtlety when two of the character start to literally talk about how serious the spy movies have been getting as they have been moving away from the fantastical elements that probably made those kinds of movies popular in the first place. There's also some commentary on class issues and on the way the modern government is running the world, but this movie is all about taking every Bond trope that you know and then turning it on its head. No prizes in guess that there is a diabolical villain with a secret lair, an evil henchman with metallic body parts, and a bunch of mooks in the same colored jumpsuits for our hero to relentlessly kill, but be surprised on how it all plays out.

Unfortunately, since this is one of those movies that revolves around shocking and surprising the audiences with every turn it makes, I'm not sure if I can really talk the story without spoiling it. It honestly kills me that I can't quite yet talk about a lot of the weird things that happens in this movie. But, basically, the main character, Eggsy, gets involved in the secret service by way of his deceased father being a part of the program. He gets recruited by Harry Hart, a Bondian super spy played by Colin Firth, who starts him on the path of becoming a "gentleman spy"(a literal term used in this movie as if the movie was sort of winking at the audience). While all of this is happen, we see Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine, a Steve Jobs-esque tech innovator, working on a diabolical plan of some sort to take over the world. So, with plot details like that, you could sort of guess where it's all leading to, but the movie takes a really dark turn in the middle...and that's all I'm going to say about that.

If anything else, Matthew Vaughn is quickly becoming one of the best action directors working today. What could have been overly familiar, boring fight scenes where it looks like two guys just flailing around at each other turns into ultra-violent, tightly choreographed, well shot fight scenes that still feels incredibly organic. And if one was wondering if Vaughn can only seem to do action scenes that involve creative ways to add to the body count, there's an intense scene involving skydiving that's more involving than your latest city destruction porn from your next blockbuster.

If there's any complaints that I do have with the movie, it's that one of the characters gets set up, characterized, and shown as someone who can really take care of business and then they give this person not a lot to do towards the end of the movie. And, if that wasn't enough, the character just so happens to be a female character named Roxy, the only main female character that is a part of the secret service. That was probably going to happen anyway since she's not the main character, but it's still pretty disappointing. However, the one female character who does get to do actually story stuff is one of the villains who literally has blades for legs...and it's awesome. A real character that makes for an even more imposing villain than even the main villain himself, though you're going to have to see the movie to see how that works.

Comparisons to Kick-Ass can be easily made, but, of all the movies it has most in common with, it's almost like the The Lego Movie of spy-thrillers. It rips apart the whole spy genre while simultaneously embodying it with an un-ironic sincerity. It's big, bold, audacious, gleefully violent, and also really good. After all, spy movies have gotten a little too serious lately, "Give me a far-fetched, theatrical plot any day!"

My only worry is that this movie is going to get killed at the box office thanks another young-adult novel adaptation that's even less deserving of a hit than usual. But now that you know how awesome this movie is, you know what to do this weekend!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Top Movies of 2014

Bonus: The Honorable Mentions

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

What is the legacy of The Hobbit movies? Was it all really nothing more than an extraneous digression of Jackson's career? I'm not really sure about all of this, but I can't deny that I've been enjoying the ride from the start. Are there problems? Sure! Did we really need these movies? Maybe not. But, were they fun? Hell yeah! Maybe the movies were there to show off action scene more than anything else, but, since this is a Peter Jackson project, you at least know they are going to be good action scenes. And, honestly, the story behind it all was all nicely done as far as I'm concerned.

I get why others wouldn't like it, but, for me, honestly, I'm glad I got to see it all.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman

I was waiting to hate this film. Hate, hate, hate, hate! The trailers looked terrible, it looked like they were dumbing it down for the kiddies and maybe even most of the parents, and...ugh...I was seriously just not looking forward to this movie.

But, defying every law of logic out there, it turned out to be good. It's not exactly great, it's not going to go down as a classic, but it all worked for me. It was genuinely funny, they did keep the spirit of the original show intact, and I was just surprised by the whole thing. And, really, that's enough to make me talk about your movie in a positive light of glowiness.

Sometime, it's nice to be wrong.

Big Hero 6

Pixar didn't get there chance to make a good movie this year, but Disney actually came out with something that might be on par with Pixar. But, it can't be that hard to figure out, right? Mix a good story with real emotion into the whole thing and you got yourself something more than a stupid ****ing Penguins movie. It even features an incredibly surprising and funny cameo for those who stuck around til the end of the creidts.


We only use 10% of our brain...well, for me, that might be true. At least, only 10% of my brain helps me in doing anything useful, the other 90% just tells me to go back to bed and eat an entire pizza. But, as we all know, the whole 10% thing is complete bullcrap. But I'll be damned if there wasn't anything more ballsy to come out this year, except for maybe Noah(which honestly also deserves a special mention of its own). It's like a high budget grindhouse with a big grandiose message along with creative action scenes. And then it turns around and turns into 2001 Space Odyssey by the end of it all. How can I not at least give a little bit of love to that?


This is a really good and dark action movie in its own right, but if there was anything showing a disconnect between me and other people is that I wasn't quite affected by this movie as others were. A classmate in my Film Studies class was genuinely pissed off at how crummy the main characters were acting during one of the scenes while someone else was really enthusiastic about telling me that it was an intense and exciting movie almost in the same way as past me would passionately talk about The Phantom Menace(Hey, it's okay to like that movie when your a kid). Where does that leave me? I 'unno, but I can say that this movie does have an impact among those who've seen it.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I was probably going to like a movie that featured Apes dual-wielding machine guns no matter what, but how about a movie that genuinely makes you care about a tribe of apes as if they were close friends to you? 

This movie is so awesome!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

If anything, the Russo brothers might be quickly becoming my new favorite action directors and maybe my favorite American action directors period(there's a reason why the best action movies we get aren't coming from the US). They've come up with creative brawls unlike anything else we've seen. For the rest, I'll admit that I'm not exactly as in with the story as others have been for one reason or another(I can't explain the weird feeling I get), but the movie is surprisingly smart and complex in its story and its themes. That's worth a lot of things.


In the real world, some things that should be obvious for everybody somehow gets blocked from their vision due to...idiocy, I guess. How do you make progress for the betterment of this world when a big chunk of people are willing to stand their ground and prevent that from happening? Like Lincoln from Spielberg, Selma shows that, sometimes, you really need to get down and do what it takes to steer the country in the right direction. MLK often gets cited as the "peaceful protestor" who helped make progress with racial and social issues, but what gets left out is how this all played out showing what MLK was willing to go through. But, finally, we get the story that pulls no punches.


You seriously wouldn't believe how close this movie was in making it in my top ten. And, yeah, I know what your thinking. "That raunchy Seth Rogen comedy with Zac Efron? Like, really, Sean? Did you hit your head somewhere down the line?" But, I was not expecting how smart this movie was willing to play it. Sure, it never really stops being incredibly funny on how you can involve a baby in the midst of a college rave, but the film goes even further by giving a theme that Zac Efron's could be a sort of reflection on Seth Rogen's character. Who knew you could turn a joke on how these two guys doing an impression on their favorite Batman would turn into something hilarious yet a bit maudlin?

If only the same Seth Rogen helped in the making of The Interview. He would be unstoppable at this point...