Showing posts from January, 2012

2012 Oscar Nominations

The Oscars are just around the corner and the nominees were announced yesterday. There were a few surprises, sure, but overall things went according to plan. There's pleanty of Hugo, The Artist, The Descendants and War Horse nominations to go around. My guesses will carry asterisks (*).

Best Picture:
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Midnight in Paris
*The Artist*
The Descendants
The Help
The Tree of Life
War Horse

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

Best Actor:
Damian Bichir, A Better Life
*George Clooney, The Descendants*
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Supporting Actress:
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
*Octavia Spencer, The Help*
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Nick …

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) R

David Fincher (The Social Network, Fight Club) has become one of the most reliable directors in Hollywood in the past couple of years. His exceptional filmmaking ability is evident in every single take. We're truly blessed to still have such dedicated directors in these dark, dreary days. You combine Fincher's tremendous gift, Steve Zaillian's (Moneyball, American Gangster) spotless script, the game-changing original novel by Stieg Larsson and a brilliant cast and I think we may just have something here.

The unique and unusual novel, by the same name, is one of the best books I've ever read. The trilogy itself is an amazing achievement. So, I was extremely excited for Fincher's adaptation. While the Swedish films are adequate and serviceable, this film definitely puts them to shame.

The film centers around investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and computer hacker/researcher Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). Blomkvist has just been convicted of libel …

2012 Golden Globes

Well, the 2012 Golden Globes aired last night, and they didn't quite go as expected (I went 5/12 in the major categories). The Artist cleaned up, while The Descendants snagged two of the biggest awards. Meryl Streep apparently still has a following. And I guess Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg still got it. Keep in mind that the Oscars will probably go very differently next month. Winners are in bold.

Best Picture, Drama:
*The Descendants*
The Help
The Ides of March
War Horse

Best Picture, Comedy:
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn
*The Artist*

Best Actress, Drama:
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
*Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady*
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Actor, Drama:
*George Clooney, The Descendants*
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Best Director:
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
George Clooney, The Ides of March

Movie Night

So it's movie night, eh? Well, before heading to the Redbox or Blockbuster (or rearranging your Netflix queue), take a look at these recent DVD releases for guidance. This covers a pretty wide variety of films spanning over three of four months, so take that in mind. I've divided the films by letter grades, as I usually do. Enjoy!

Moneyball -- Easily one of the top five films of 2011. Brad Pitt is marvelous and Jonah Hill is a revelation. I don't think you have to love/like baseball to fall in love with this film, but it certainly doesn't hurt. Pitt, Hill, director Bennett Miller (Capote), and co-writers Steve Zaillian (American Gangster, Gangs of New York) and Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, Charlie Wilson's War) will undoubtedly be nominated for Oscars here in a few weeks.

Beginners -- Terrific performances by the entire cast (Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer and Melanie Laurent in particular), and a terrific script by director Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) lead …

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2012) PG-13

This inevitable sequel, once again starring Robert Downey Jr. (Due Date, The Soloist) as Sherlock Holmes, certainly has its moments. Practically the entire cast is back for Game of Shadows, and that's good news for all. Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch.) is still unpolished as a director in my opinion, but he's found a formula here that works.

This film is certainly not short on laughs, thrills and wit; much like the first film. Sherlock Holmes was a bit of a game-changer in some respects, and Ritchie uses much of the same techniques in this exhilarating sequel. If you missed the first film, then there is no reason to see this film beforehand. That film is thoroughly enjoyable though; so check it out!

A Game of Shadows basically picks up where the first chapter left off. A little time has passed, although we're not sure exactly how much. Dr. Watson (Jude Law) is a mere few days away from his marriage with Mary (Kelly Reilly), and Sherlock is, of cours…

40 Most Anticipated Films of 2012 (Part 4 of 4)

10. The Place Beyond the Pines - Directed by Derek Cianfrance. Starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper -- Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) is re-teaming with Gosling, which makes for a very intriguing film. Gosling plays a motorcycle stunt rider who gets himself into some trouble with the law. Sounds a little like Drive, sure, but I know this film will be a huge success.

9. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12/14) - Directed by Peter Jackson. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen -- Obviously everyone is excited about this Lord of the Rings prequel. The Hobbit novel is being broken down into two films; There and Back Again comes out December 2013. It's impossible to think these films will be anything but terrific.

8. The Avengers (5/4) - Directed by Joss Whedon. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth -- Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Incredible Hulk all in the same film? Count me in, because I'm a huge nerd when it comes to comic book superheros. I'm really looking f…

40 Most Anticipated Films of 2012 (Part 3 of 4)

20. World War Z (12/21) - Directed by Marc Forster. Starring Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox -- Based on the best-selling novel; this film bolsters a solid storyline, a proven director and a big time star in Brad Pitt. Apocalyptic films interest me, so I'll be checking this one out for sure.

19. Savages (9/28) - Directed by Oliver Stone. Starring Aaron Johnson, Taylor Kitsch -- This is a film that has grown on me after some details have come to light. Oliver Stone (Wall Street, Platoon) definitely adds some appeal. The star-studded cast that also includes Emile Hirsch, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek, John Travolta, Uma Thurman and Blake Lively looks quite solid. The concept may be a bit overused, but I think Stone has what it takes to re-energize it.

18. Lincoln - Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt -- This one sounds like your typical Spielberg big blockbuster and awards contender. A wonderful cast, a terrific plot and one of the best directors in th…

40 Most Anticipated Films of 2012 (Part 2 of 4)

30. Haywire (1/20) - Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Starring Gina Carano, Ewan McGregor -- Soderbergh's (Ocean's Eleven, Traffic) films are always must-sees. Early reviews are giving high praise to new-comer Carano, and the rest of the cast is stellar.

29. Argo (9/14) - Directed by Ben Affleck. Starring Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston -- Affleck's first two films (The Town, Gone Baby Gone) were big hits, so I expect more of the same. The supporting cast that includes Cranston, John Goodman and Kyle Chandler looks great, and the synopsis sounds interesting.

28. Dark Shadows (5/11) - Directed by Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp, Eva Green -- Burton isn't my favorite director, but he's never bad. This isn't a animated film, so I'm on board. Monsters, vampires, witches, werewolves and ghosts? Sounds good to me.

27. Great Hope Springs (12/14) - Directed by David Frenkel. Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones -- Could be a tear-jerker, but also could be hilarious; we&#…

40 Most Anticipated Films of 2012 (Part 1 of 4)

It feels just like yesterday that I made my 2011 predictions. Oh how the times flies. This upcoming season looks to be a rebound year for the American cinema! A lot of huge blockbusters, and a lot of big time directors are dropping some major motion pictures in 2012! Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor and Captain America are all making appearances. James Bond is back and an Alien prequel (with Ridley Scott back as director) looks to captivate us all. Veteran directors Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Noah Baumbach, Judd Apatow, Oliver Stone, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, Ridley Scott and Peter Jackson all have new films for all to enjoy! There were a handful of highly anticipated films that I had to leave off the list, because of release date uncertainty. Sad face. Anyway, I will release ten films a day. My top ten anticipated films of 2012 will be released on Friday. Enjoy.

40. Total Recall (8/3) - Directed by Len Wiseman. Starring Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel -- Thi…

Top 25 Films of 2011

Well, 2012 is here. That can only mean one thing; it's time for my top films of 2011! It's been somewhat of a rough year, so I will only list off 25 films. Keep in my mind that I obviously haven't seen all the films released in 2011, but I've seen quite a few. This list will certainly change over the next few months, and I will most likely drop another top 25 as we approach the summer of 2012.

25. The Tree of Life -- Certainly disappointing, but this film is often breathtaking. Even if it is in fact confusing and quite pointless, it's still worth-while for most. I actually enjoyed the film more when the actors weren't on screen, which is rare.

24. Captain America: The First Avenger -- This was one of the more surprising films of 2011. I wasn't quite sure Chris Evans (Sunshine, Fantastic Four) would make a good Captain America, but he was very adequate. It's a little long, but it's another Marvel Comics hit.

23. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows -- In …