Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Film Trailers: ROOM 237

Wednesday film trailers is going with a new release, the upcoming subjective documentary Room 237. Now, I'm an avid, appreciative fan of director Stanley Kubrick. I mean, he was so visionary and detailed. I have seen all of his films more than once and he is one of the most respected directors of all time, as well as one of my favorites. If you have not seen his early film noir The Killing watch it soon. The Shining is a masterpiece of horror cinema and an unflinching psychological thriller. It is one of the truly scariest films ever made because of the artistic "gotcha" scares and dementia and fear the family goes through. Also, the isolation aspect is wicked and gives that terrible feeling of being without hope and help. The new documentary Room 237, directed by Rodney Ascher, dives into different conspirarcy theories and inner meanings within the film. The film could end up being a failed attempt at divulging these theories and inner meanings but it will also be, hopefully, a unique analysis on one of the finest films of artistic, horror cinema. No judgment until seen, but from what I have read, the film premiered at last years Cannes Film Festival, it appears to be interesting and a good conversation starter. I love docs about film and film history. Sucker for them. Here is the trailer, full of blood and menace. Enjoy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscar Reaction and Boredom

     Another year, another lame Oscar ceremony. The best thing about the show was sharing the wealth. 15 different films took home statues this year and that, without a doubt was the best thing about this past film year. There were a tremendous about of great, good and above average films. The Academy, in their infinite wisdom and old white boy club way took the easy, safe way on a lot of films. Lets start with Best Supporting Actor. First off, Christoph Waltz was a lead and should not have been in the supporting category. He is in almost every scene of the film, except towards the end. Second, how can a film dealing with slavery and revenge, and that has two wonderful performances by African American actors, not have one of them nominated. This is not to take anything away from Waltz and DiCaprio, but Samuel L. Jackson was absolutely scene stealing in Django Unchained. The best he has been in years. Third, Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln) and Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook) were more deserving. They showed so much range, depth and controlled intelligence and desire where Waltz (he is great in that film and I loved him in it, so I'm not saying he was bad or anything) was a gun for hire who I believe won because he delivered Tarantino's sculpted lines with clarity and charisma. Oh Well.
    And I am sorry, being that I really enjoyed Django Unchained and loved it so much more than the over hyped Inglourious Basterds, but Mark Boal's original screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty was easily the best screenplay of the year. I am surprised Tarantino won with his cocksure, masturbatory joy of movie history and spaghetti western lore. I love it and love him for making the movies he does but Boal's suspense thriller was so meticulous, dramatic and indeed, highly procedural take on the hunt for bin Laden was as close to perfect as it gets. He lost because I believe the Academy felt the film was pro torture and that being the case, caused the film to be the respected, but hell no we will not vote for it. Give it a technical award (tie for Best Sound Editing with Skyfall) and shut them up. We do not want to be perceived as supporting torture by the USA. It is the filmmaking too people. That leads us to Best Picture.
     Good for Ben Affleck. He directed a sufficient period thriller with class and fine technique. From a script by Chris Terrio (won Best Adapted Screenplay), the film was good but a safe and "lets make everyone satisfied" pick. Once again, avoid the brilliance and astounding craftsmanship of Zero Dark Thirty and go with the huh rah, America did it film Argo. I enjoyed Argo very much and it contains a brilliantly edited and acted finale (won Best Editing, which usually indicates a automatic Best Picture win) but it does not contain the relevance and honesty that Zero Dark Thirty does. It is a harsh, brilliant procedural suspense thriller that not only exemplifies the work, heart and frustrations of the search but it is a calculating piece of filmmaking that deserves better. I'm almost glad it did not win because it is better than that. Kathryn Bigelow should have been nominated and won for Best Director, sexism there. I know she won for The Hurt Locker but this is even a better film. Affleck not being nominated was wrong too. Good for Ang Lee (Life of Pi) but someone had to win. Actually, I wish it would have been Haneke. That would been a wonderful surprise or Russell. And by applause, they really loved Life of Pi which makes me wonder why it did not win Best Picture.
     Daniel Day-Lewis winning for Best Actor and Anne Hathaway winning Best Supporting Actress were foregone conclusions and both were deserved, even if Hathaway spoke like she deserved it all along. Annoying. Day-Lewis was humble, clever and funny in his acceptance speech, and although I would have picked Joaquin Phoenix for The Master, Lewis is the man. The best living actor. I was hoping for a surprise with Best Actress. I really thought Lawrence and Chastain were truly exceptional, but Riva's performance in Amour grew on me constantly after seeing that film. Heartbreaking, emotionally challenging and flat out brilliant. An acting legend and it would have been nice to have seen her take home the statue. It is not about being nice though and Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook had that youthful charm and cockiness that showed she was a great choice. She played off tripping on the steps well too. Shows she has a good head on her shoulders, can make fun of herself and is insanely talented.
     The safe bets usually win and films that give an emotional uplift are right in the Academy's wheel house. Life of Pi, Les Miserables, ArgoLincoln and the ending of Silver Linings Playbook are positive, make you hoo-rah or cry films that, although techncially with Pi shows talents that deserve attention but do not show the realism that I think is necessary for the Best. This is not to say that films need to be all pessimistic but those films I'm drawn to more. In a way, the wins for Django Unchained were good in that sense but it was not the best in those categories. And who is to say what the best is. The critics went for Zero Dark Thirty, Moonrise Kingdom (to an extent and I wish Wes Anderson's film got more attention) and The Master while the guilds and the Academy were in love with Argo. It is a matter of opinion and politics, but beneath it all, a films merit is not determined by an award. It is determined by its relevance to the times and its ability to show exquisite craftsmanship and forward thinking. It should say something about life and our place in the world. Be about something and about the forward movement and growth of film. A good film should never go old and always be relevant, i.e. The Third Man, Manhattan and Vertigo. Not formulaic garbage that bogs down the medium in malignant boredom and a happy ending. Be real.
     The ceremony was safe, safe, safe, safe. No political rants. No surprises. No true, deserved love for quality pictures. Nominations for some, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild are just to please the critics and film nerds. I'm not discrediting the Academy but it just seems they are afraid to break out of the mold of conformity. Give me something. Give me an injection of excitement and fun. Not this good old time with our adult, feel good films. Avoid confrontation and avoid pissing off the Right. Eventually, we will get a producer(s) that will change the broadcast to something more and the Academy will begin to vote for films that mean something or at least have more meaning. The thing is is what that is and how will that happen. In due time we might find out but with the recent wins for The King's Speech over The Social Network, The Artist over, I guess The Descendants, and Argo over Zero Dark Thirty it is evident that cultural awareness and cinematic realism is on the back burner compared to a film that makes us feel good and looks pretty.
     As for the host Seth MacFarlane, not so good. He is not a stand-up comedian. Is jokes were all over the place and the opening was meandering and stupid. He is a good song and dance man, but is joke about Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth were funny but did not seem to work in the room. He should have just said fuck it, I'm going for broke. Rude, honest, clever is what needed to happen and MacFarlane was mild. Nothing like some of his rants and episodes of "Family Guy" or anything like what I was expecting. More proof that the Academy is boring and sweet. Nice try, but he was right when he mentioned we need Amy Poehler and Tina Fey to host next year. Correct, we need them to host next year. Then it will be funny, which it should be to get through the 3 to 4 hour run time.
     The musical numbers were good, other than Catherine Zeta-Jones obvious lip-synching, her dancing was on point though for Chicago. Jennifer Hudson was phenomenal singing for Dreamgirls and the Les Miserables cast singing was real good too. Go Russell Crowe. He cannot sing for shit but he did not care and good for him. Still a wonderful actor and its good to see him branching out to new ideas and testing himself. The Bond tribute could have been more, a lot more. I loved seeing the montage from the films, but Dame Shirley Bassey singing the penultimate Bond song "Goldfinger" was the true highlight of the night. It would have been nice to see more singers come out and sing some Bond songs or have the living Bond actors come out on stage but it is what it is. They also should of had Adele sing "Skyfall" during this tribute but she sang it later and was fantastic. I really enjoy that song and it is one of the best ones in a long time. Also, the whole night was summed up by the cut to Joaquin Phoenix when he was announced as a nominee for Best Actor. Morosely bored, uninterested and damn ready to get the hell out of there. Awards, love it and hate it.
     Overall, the best thing was that the awards were spread out. Even though I am still hoping Roger Deakins gets his overdue cinematography win sometime, the awards were safe and not really surprising. There are so many awards given out going into the Oscars that it feels like a relief when there over. You kind of have a feel of what the outcome is going to be before it starts and hope a surprise or two will arise, but nothing like that this year. The Academy needs to toughen up and start going out on a limb. Stop going with the momentum and popular choice at the time. Pick more films from around the world and get rid of the politics. Well, that will never happen and studio executives will always sway, push and campaign the hell out of a film to get a win and more money, i.e. Harvey Weinstein and Django Unchained. It is all opinion and bullshit. But in a year where there were so many well made films, the fact the awards were spread out left a little excitement to the awards. Not much though. Here is going to next year and hope the films are as good as this year, if not better.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oscar Winners

Oscar winners as they are announced. Thankfully, this award season is over and we can fully move forward into next (this) years films. Awards are ridiculous as it is, but it is fun to watch and cover them, moderately. Oscar history is very interesting and highly political as well. Who is to say what film is better than another. It is a matter of opinion, politics and money. The Oscars are definitely not worldly in its scope and usually highly sexist as well. Hopefully Seth MacFarlane will not stink up the joint. Anyways, enough pessimism. Here we go...

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:  Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
     *** What? I'm not sure about that. He is great and I loved the film, but should have been Hoffman,
             Jones or DeNiro by a long shot.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:  Claudio Miranda (LIfe of Pi)
     *** Poor Roger Deakins...
BEST COSTUME DESIGN:  Jacqueline Durran (Anna Karenina)
    The Bond tribute was great and Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger was the highlight so far.
BEST SOUND MIXING:  Les Miserables
BEST SOUND EDITING:  tie Zero Dark Thirty & Skyfall 
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:  Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
     *** No surprise. Boring so far. I have picked everything correct so far with the exception of Waltz
            winning Best Supporting Actor. Hopefully there will be some surprises soon.
BEST FILM EDITING:  William Goldenberg (Argo)
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:  Mychael Danna (Life of Pi)
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:  "Skyfall" from Skyfall music & lyrics Adele & Paul Epworth
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:  Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
     *** Congrats but Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty should have won.
BEST DIRECTING:  Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
     *** Ang Lee is a fantastic director but Bigelow should have been nominated and easily won.
BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:  Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
     *** Good. Awesome. Loved the film.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:  Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
     *** The Best. Pure method. The greatest actor alive. I still think Phoenix was better... at least this
     *** Safe, easy pick. Academy is kind of lame, but that was still a good film. Academy needs to man
            up and not be afraid to go outside the box. Good for Ben Affleck.

Spirit Award Winners

Here is a list of the Film Independent Spirit Awards winners. Big night for Silver Linings Playbook!!!

BEST FEATURE:  Silver Linings Playbook
BEST FEMALE LEAD:  Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
BEST MALE LEAD:  John Hawkes (The Sessions)
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE:  Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
BEST SUPPORTING MALE:  Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
BEST DIRECTOR:  David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
BEST SCREENPLAY:  David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY:  Derek Connolly (Safety Not Guaranteed)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:  Ben Richardson (Beasts of the Southern Wild)
BEST FIRST FEATURE:  Perks of Being a Wallflower
BEST DOCUMENTARY:  The Invisible War
SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD:  Adam Leon (Gimme the Loot)
PRODUCERS AWARD:  Mynette Louie (Stones in the Sun)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Oscar Picks: Who Should & Will Win

     Sunday is the 85th Academy Awards and it is one of the more exciting races in awhile. As of right now, Argo has the most momentum going into Sunday's ceremony. Ben Affleck's film on the rescue of US diplomats in Iran during the hostage crisis has taken home all of the Guild awards, as well as the Best Drama Picture at the Golden Globes. It would appear Argo is on course to win Best Picture but Lincoln could still win. At least it probably has the best shot to beat Argo. Can Argo win without a Best Director nod? For me, the big question and surprise will be who is going to win Best Director. This should be a no brainer for Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), but with her and Ben Affleck not being nominated, it is all up in the air. The most likely scenario is for Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) or Ang Lee (Life of Pi) to pull off the win, but I'm hoping for Michael Haneke (Amour) to upset and win the prize. I also really hope Roger Deakins wins for his crisp, stylish lensing of (Skyfall), but the ten time nominee will most likely be overlooked for the 3D brilliance of Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi). Here is a link of all the nominees and my "who should" and "who will" win picks after the jump.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


     The movie trailer I want to showcase this Wednesday is an odd, insightful, confounding chaos of a film from Oscar nominated director and writer David O. Russell. I Heart Huckabees is an amazing film, full of romance, dry humor, activism and a defining, well, searching for existence and meaning in this world. The film contains a witty examination of existentialism and purpose. What does it all it mean? Jason Schwartzman plays Albert Markovski, a poet and environmental activist, who hires two detectives, Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin to investigate the meaning of three different coincidences that have occurred to the poor, lost Albert. It continues on a comical journey of thought, action and uncontrollable clutter and disarray. The cast also includes Naomi Watts, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg and Isabelle Huppert. It contains wonderful music from composer and musician Jon Brion as well.The film is a joy of an offbeat comedy and an existential investigation into meaning and purpose. Also, narratively speaking, its all over the place, and that works on many levels. Enjoy.

Monday, February 18, 2013

WGA Winners

     Not much here, but another big win for Argo, which has turned into the default choice for all wins. This is not to say it is a bad film at all, but a little bit of surprise or change from the norm would be nice. Still, a good film and great production all around, but it seems like the safe choice to avoid from giving the truly best film Zero Dark Thirty the attention it deserves. The torture controversy... bogus, and the fact the film is still too soon to be made. Give me a break. The film is so relevant and builds on not only the expertly crafted suspense, but the passion and grief that went into the search for bin Laden. That is what separates ZD30 from Argo. It is just plain better.
     Well, with that rant, the winners of the Writers Guild of America were announced Sunday night and the big film winners were Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Chris Terrio won best adapted screenplay for Argo and the best original screenplay went to Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty. No fear of negative or confrontational reactions. Just honest, bare bones writing, with astounding, gripping suspense. I am very pleased that Mark Boal won. He easily wrote the best overall screenplay, along with Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom and David O. Russell's adapted screenplay for his wonderful Silver Linings Playbook. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Film Trailers: Danny Boyle's newest TRANCE

For Wednesday's film trailers I am going to present a new trailer for Trance, Danny Boyle's newest film. The film was written by John Hodge, who also wrote Boyle's first directorial effort, the highly brilliant and, in my opinion his best film, Shallow Grave, as well as the kinetic and make-you-feel-dirty Trainspotting. Awesome film as well. The film stars James McAvoy as Simon, a fine art auctioneer, who works with a gang leader Franck, played by Vincent Cassel. They plot to steal a Goya but are double-crossed by Simon and Franck knocks Simon unconscious. Simon sticks to a belief that the violence has left with no memory of the double-cross and the gang's use of a hypnotherapist, played by Rosario Dawson, they try to get Simon to talk. The film looks very much like a Boyle film, with a kinetic pace and devilish plot twists and turns. The film opens April 5 in limited release. Enjoy the trailer and the trippy poster.

Monday, February 11, 2013

More Love for ARGO and a win for Deakins and SKYFALL

    Over the weekend, more film awards came Argo's way, with big wins at the BAFTAs and the USC Scripter Award. BAFTA is the British Film Academy of Film and Television Arts and is the equivalent to the Academy Awards here in the states. Argo won for Best Film, Best Director and Best Editing. Argo appears to be on a non-stop ride and is rolling fluently right into the Oscars. Will the Academy follow suit or go with something else? I am kind of rooting for it to win, just because they reluctantly left Ben Affleck off Best Director. Most of the love from online film critics and bloggers is steadfast with Spielberg's beautiful Lincoln to win Best Picture. Wrong. It is a good, well-acted film, but it does not carry the power or importance that Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty possess. The Best Picture winner should not be just a comfort food film, but something with cultural and cinematic importance. I liked Lincoln and Argo, but Zero Dark Thirty should be the won to beat.
     Roger Deakins brilliant cinematography in the newest Bond Film Skyfall won for best cinematography at the American Society of Cinematographers annual awards, which were announced last night. I love seeing Mr. Deakins win. I could watch Skyfall over and over just for his lush and crisp balanced photography. Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki are the best working cinematographers working today. That is hard to say with other great lensers, such as Robert Richardson (Django Unchained), Rodrigo Prieto (Babel), Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood) and Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight Trilogy). These are all wonderful DPs but Deakins and Lubezki are the best. Just look at Deakins brilliance in his work with the Coen Brothers, especially No Country for Old Men and Lubezki's, the best in my opinion, work with Alfonso Cuaron on Children of Men and Terrence Malick with The Tree of Life. Both are crisp, clean and beautifully framed. I really hope Deakins wins the Oscar, being that he has been nominated 10 times without a win, but I'm sure Claudio Miranda will win for Life of Pi. I personally think Mihai Malaimare, Jr.'s work on Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master is the best from 2012, but sadly he was not nominated.
     Here is a list of all the winners at the BAFTAs.


BEST DIRECTOR:  Ben Affleck, Argo
BEST ACTOR:  Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
BEST ACTRESS:  Emmanuelle Riva, Amour  YES!!!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:  Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:  David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
BEST DOCUMENTARY:  Searching for Sugar Man
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:  Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
BEST EDITING:  William Goldenberg, Argo
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:  Eve Stewart & Anna Lynch-Robinson, Les Miserables
BEST COSTUME DESIGN:  Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
BEST FILM MUSIC:  Thomas Newman, Skyfall
BEST MAKEUP/HAIR:  Les Miserables
BEST SOUND:  Les Miserables
BEST ANIMATED SHORT:  The Making of Longbird


Roger Deakins,  Skyfall


Argo:  Joshuah Bearman (author), Tony Mendez (author) & Chris Terrio (screenwriter)


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Film Trailers: The Limey

Steven Soderbergh's latest, and most likely, his last theatrical released film Side Effects, opens this Friday. Wednesday's film trailers is going to present my favorite Soderbergh film The Limey, starring Terrence Stamp. This film is a great thriller and tells the story of an Englishman who travels to Los Angeles to find the man who most likely murdered his daughter. It is tight, delicately paced piece of filmmaking, and one of Soderbergh's best films. The film also stars Peter Fonda. Enjoy the trailer, and I highly recommend watching it if you have not seen it. Wonderful film.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Top Ten & Best of 2012

2012 was an interesting and great year in film. A lot better than last year, that's for sure. There were so many challenging and provocative films, as well as a tremendous amount of wonderful performances. Here I am going to list my Top Ten Films and Best Of... for 2012. Enjoy.

  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • Looper
  • End of Watch
  • Beasts of the Southern Wild

10.   Lincoln

     A well-made, highly political film with some stellar performances, especially from one James Spader. Even though the films cinematography can, well, it is too white-washed, the film stands up with its ability to tell a story of the political mind of Lincoln and the routes and loopholes he went through to get slavery abolished. Daniel Day-Lewis is great, as always, and Spielberg has made a very good, soft political film, with a script that flows gracefully.

9.   Skyfall

     Bond is back, and thankfully so with director Sam Mendes. The film accepts the new and appreciates the old, and I love that balance that is shown throughout the film. It is easily Craig's best film as the iconic spy and Javier Bardem is lights out with his creepy, old fashioned portrayal of the world dominating villain Silva. I really hope Mendes is back for the next Bond film. Oh yeah... Roger Deakins shot the film!

8.   Argo

     I have never really had an opinion on Ben Affleck the actor. My indifference is not there when speaking of him as a director. Argo, being his third directorial effort, is without a doubt his best. A stylish, tense thriller with the exact comedic elements to balance the story out perfectly. Probably the best editing job this year, along with Zero Dark Thirty. Affleck has proven he is for real and this film has an edge-of-your-seat ending that is amazing.

7.   Django Unchained

     Aw, Quentin Tarantino. You genre loving maniac. I was very unhappy with Inglourious Basterds, but Django Unchained was a highly satisfying romp of a film. Yes it is super violent and not slight on the racist tones and language, but it is about a man wanting to rescue and get back to his wife. It contains a vengeful duo of heroes and the bad guys get what they deserve. Tarantino is enamored with his brilliant, cocksure ability to write dialogue and once again shows a deep appreciation of that and for spaghetti westerns and revenge flicks with his most recent cinematic effort. Christoph Waltz steals the show and Jackson delivers his best performance in years.

6.   Amour

     There is no film this past year that is a more enjoyable, difficult sit then Michael Haneke's devastatingly beautiful Amour. Grounded with unbelievably amazing performances from legendary actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, and the assured direction of Haneke, the film tells of the love, patience, grief and trouble that goes into seeing someone you love dying before you eyes. Death is unbearably hard and we must cherish our fondest memories of love and happiness.

5.   The Master

     I still do not know what to make of this film other than I knew after I saw it, I had seen something great. It is confounding, unsettling and absolutely brilliant. Anderson is a true auteur of the highest order and is one of our best filmmakers because he does not sugar coat or give direct answers to what is happening. You, the audience, need to come up with your own conclusions and questions. Another film with absolutely fantastic performances, especially Phoenix. Beautifully shot and see it in 70mm. Great stuff and cannot wait to see it again.

4.   Holy Motors

     My biggest surprise of the year and a true definition of the creativity and imagination of cinema. There is no singular definition for this film and, like with The Master, a film that leaves one with many questions and few answers. Leos Carax's mind-bending journey through one man's different appearances and characters is both fascinating and vile. Denis Lavant gives the best acting performance of 2012 and the film has no boundaries. The mind is limitless and the visionary Holy Motors is an absolute pleasure.

3.   Silver Linings Playbook

     I know the ending is cliched, but please, this film is so exceptionally well-made and acted that it is one of the few times where it was OK for that ending to be that way. We see human beings facing their fears, problems and insecurities and not backing down from them. The help received from friends, family and new found romances is profound and David O. Russell's sensitive, beautiful direction and writing leads us through a troubling, humorous journey. I loved this film so much and the acting is about as good as it gets. Shit, I even used a little cliche right there and I really despise cliches. DeNiro is awesome again! Finally.

2.   Moonrise Kingdom

     I have been a Wes Anderson fan since Bottle Rocket. I am a true admirer and really enjoy all of his work. Moonrise Kingdom is an absolutely great film about young love and the complications that go along with it. Filmed with a soft, golden hue that lends to the time period and dreamy, magical touch, this film encompasses that childhood passion and confusion that comes with love. Anderson has made a film that can bring anybody back to their first romance and, as usual, has a brilliant cast to aid in telling this sweet story. Alexandre Desplat's score is brilliant, but when is his music not.

1.   Zero Dark Thirty

     In my humble opinion, 2012 was a fantastic year in film, but Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal's Zero Dark Thirty is far and away the best film of the year. This film is suspenseful from start to finish and never lets up. It is a film about determination and will. Chastain is so strong and forceful in her portrayal of CIA Agent Maya and Bigelow's direction is swift and meaningful. It is a detective and procedural thriller. It is controversial and does not shy away from the torture aspect in the manhunt for Osama bin Laden, but it is hard and in your face. It does not hide away from what it wants to say and a true film of the moment. Zero Dark Thirty has exceptional craftsmanship and speaks to the strengths and hardships of achieving what you set out to achieve. 


Best Film:  Zero Dark Thirty
Best Director:  Michael Haneke (Amour)
Best Actor:  Denis Lavant (Holy Motors)
Best Actress:  Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Best Supporting Actor:  Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty)
Best Supporting Actress:  Amy Adams (The Master)
Best Original Screenplay:  Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom)
Best Adapted Screenplay:  David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Best Cinematography:  Mihai Malaimare, Jr. (The Master)
Best Editing:  tie Argo & Zero Dark Thirty
Best Score:  Alexandre Desplat (Moonrise Kingdom)
Most Overlooked Performances:  Jack Black (Bernie), Matthew McConaughey, & Michael Pena (End of Watch)
Most Disappointing (but have to see it again) Film:  Killing Them Softly 
Most Over-hyped Film:  The Avengers

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Big Win at the DGA for Affleck & ARGO

     Last night, the Directors Guild of America handed out their Best Director award to Ben Affleck for Argo. That film has been on a role of late, winning at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Producers Guild of America. It seems it is rolling right on to the Academy Awards and Best Picture. If it wins there, it would be only the fourth film in history to win Best Picture without having a Best Director nomination -- the others beings Wings (1929), Grand Hotel (1932) & Driving Miss Daisy (1990). Affleck is only the third director to win the DGA without having a corresponding Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards -- the others being Steven Spielberg in 1985 for The Color Purple and Ron Howard in 1995 for Apollo 13.
     It will be very interesting to see who wins the Best Director Oscar, being that three of the DGA nominees -- Ben Affleck (Argo), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) & Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) -- were not nominated for the Academy Award. I guess the odds on bet would be Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, but I believe there is going to be a surprise. I think Michael Haneke is going to pull off the upset for his heartbreaking Amour and if it is not him, I'm going with David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook. Any which way you look at it, it is going to be interesting and possibly exciting. With all due respect, it should be Kathryn Bigelow or Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom, but that is not going to happen. Congrats to Ben Affleck!