Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Best Picture Predictions

A simple prediction of the Oscar nominees, of which I'll be attending the announcements tomorrow morning at 5:30am. Yowzer.

The Artist
The Descendants
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life

The last of which is probably very hopeful thinking on my part, but I do think it still has the power. C'mon, Academy, do the right thing! It certainly deserves a nomination, if nothing else.

That makes seven.

The ones I left off: The Ides of March and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the latter of which scored a directors guild nominee, an extremely good sign of a Best Picture nom. But I just think the Academy's too old for that movie. The Ides of March I just don't think is that strong.

If I'm right, or close to right, this post will stand as a bastion of my supreme intelligence. If not, it will be summarily deleted.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 2nd Annual L.A.O.K. Awards

All year you've been waiting for it...............................................................................................


That's right, time to hand out that fabled award that Garrett's friends and people that used to know Garrett in college alike look forward to taking a few more minutes out of their work day. So let's not waste time, shalln't we?


My top five:
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life

And the Layokie goes to...
The Tree of Life

With a few notable exceptions, and you may find this hard to believe, I try to let people think bad movies are great if they have well-thought-out reasons for doing so. There are very few that I would argue against completely. On the other hand (though it is quite difficult for me) I also try to let people not like movies that I think are great, if they've thought about that too. The most notable exceptions: Slumdog Millionaire is not a great movie. Dances with Wolves is definitely not better than GoodFellas. And The Tree of Life definitively is the best movie of the year. If you don't think that, I will say that your opinion is incorrect. I don't think in all my life I've felt this strongly about a movie.

I can't say too much regarding arguments that contend other films are the year's best without going into a confused rage, but I did work up this analogy:

The Tree of Life is a masterpiece of cinema, but certainly not the only one. I think the only other recent masterpiece of American cinema is There Will Be Blood (though at the time I favored No Country for Old Men, so opinions certainly can change over time), but were you to call There Will Be Blood the Mona Lisa, The Tree of Life would be the Sistine Chapel. In scope of artistry, vision, and reach, it's simply unmatched. This would make The Artist a Piet Mondrian, but the not the original Broadway Boogie Woogie seen here, more like if someone made an adequate homage to it today.

For me, the only movie that can touch The Tree of Life this year is Drive. The next four of my top ten were all great, and I could barely decide to which of them to knock down to the next five.

The next five:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Ides of March
War Horse (Though I got shamed for liking it in my office, where I am the one with broad taste.)

Again, of these it was Shame, which is the one that barely didn't make the cut for the top five, then as Billy Beene would say, "50 feet of crap, and then us." It annoys me to hear people say years on the whole were either good or bad for movies, because I seem to hear it both ways every year. But it was really a stretch for me to pick ten of the best movies this time around.

However, The Tree of Life more than makes up for the lack of quality elsewhere. You could tell me it was the best movie made in the last 10, 20, or 50 years, and I probably wouldn't argue with you (though Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon remains my personal favorite.)


My top five:
Terrence Malick - The Tree of Life
Nicolas Winding Refn - Drive
Steven Soderbergh - Contagion
Lars von Trier - Melancholia
Joe Wright - Hanna

And the Layokie goes to...
Terrence "Obviously" Malick

Tree of Life fetus says, "If you didn't love it, you didn't understand it."

During the scene in which an opera is playing over the creation of the universe and evolution of life on earth (What's that? The best part of The Artist by a mile was a two-minute tap dance?), there's this tiny clip of a few spiral-shaped single celled organisms, and as I watched, I literally thought to myself, "He's doing it! He's really doing it!" In terms of commercial filmmaking, it's like he jumped over the Grand Canyon (or whatever, you know what I'm trying to say). I'm not surprised people walked out of the theater. People are idiots. It flew in the face of convention, or something not cliche but similar to that.


My top five:
Like Crazy - Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
Melancholia - Lars von Trier
Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen
Shame - Abi Morgan and Steve McQueen
Win Win - Thomas McCarthy

And the Layokie goes to...
Midnight in Paris - Woody Allen

Sometimes I surprise myself with my picks. Don't read too much into them please. Except for a few (like the ones above, obviously) these are completely arbitrary. I narrow down some good titles, then pick one on the spot as I write. 

However, don't discount Like Crazy. In the first 30 minutes, I thought, 'This reeks so much of film school. Why am I watching this?' But if you keep with it, a very trite and annoyingly childish love story matures, and how. The latter half is one of the more realistic and honest relationship dramas I've ever seen.

Shame and Melancholia are also just excellent. Shame is truly gut-wrenching, in a way that makes me not want to recommend watching it.

I decided to go with Midnight in Paris because it's funny, delightful......well it is!, it makes you feel smart when you understand its references, it's got a good amount of Wesley Snipes, and the story touches on a true sentiment of the human condition, whether you're an artist or not.


My top five:
Albert Nobbs - Glenn Close and John Banville
Drive -Hossein Amini
The Ides of March- George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon
Moneyball - Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver

And the Layokie goes to...
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

For Lithgow!!!!!

Why not, right? Talking orangutans.


My tope five:

Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Melancholia
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryll Streep probably - The Iron Lady, and Michelle Williams probably - My Week with Marylin (have yet to see both)
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk about Kevin

And the Layokie goes to...
Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia

Acting's not really my craft, so any actors are welcome to think these picks are terrible. That said, gotta go with Kirsten Dunst on this one. Melancholia was incredible, and she was excellent in it. She really carried the film, even while playing a supporting role in the second part.


My top five:
Jean Dujardin - The Actor
Michael Fassbender - Shame
Mel Gibson - The Beaver
Ryan Gosling - Drive
Brad Pitt - Moneyball

And the Layokie goes to...
Ryan Gosling - Drive


Super thrilled to see "The Goz" nominated twice for the Golden Globes, even though they are stupid. Even for Crazy, Stupid, Love, which should rightfully get overlooked during awards season, but was also a delightful romp, in which Ry Ry was perfect. He was also nominated by the Globes for his performance in The Ides of March. That was a good movie, and his performance was also good, but did any of those foreign whatsits see Drive?! Ryan Gosling in Drive, would be perfection. Ryan Gosling in Drive would be perfection? Could have said, 'Ryan Gosling in Drive would be nice.' Could have said, 'I liked his performance.' But no, you said, 'Ryan Gosling in Drive would be perfection.'

BECAUSE HE WAS! Straight-faced 100%. No emotion at all. You know what? I've been working on this post for a while now, and I'm starting to go a little crazy, about five minutes ago. On to the next one.


My top five:
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Marion Cotillard - Midnight in Paris
Rachel McAdams - Midnight in Paris
Melissa "Hottest Woman on Film (except maybe for in this movie)" McCarthy - Bridesmaids
Carrey Mulligan - Shame

And the Layokie goes to...
Carrey Mulligan - Shame

Two-time back-to-back Layokie winner for Best Supporting Actress! Wow, what an honor this must be for her. I'm just gonna go ahead and keep giving Carrey Mulligan this prestigious award until she gives me a reason not to. But seriously, she was really good in Shame.


My top five:
Michael Sheen - Midnight in Paris
Ralph Fiennes - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Alan Rickman -  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Philip Seymour Hoffman - Moneyball and The Ides of March
John C. Reily - Carnage, We Need to Talk about Kevin, Cedar Rapids, and The Extra Man (which actually came out last year, but no one saw it anyway so it doesn't matter)

And the Layokie goes to...
Ralph Fiennes I guess? I don't really know.

PSH was really great as always in his two films, but he hardly even screamed loudly! Uh, gonna have to try a little harder than that, Phil. Ralph-Rayph I was really impressed with in my first viewing of HPatDHp2, but it wasn't until a repeat viewing with the resident Potter-philes in my life, Matt and Ellen Godfrey, that I realized Alan Rickman was eeq--ually guilty, of a great performance that is!

And now on to the really good stuff.

A Dangerous Method
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Hugo (Hugo should have been called, George Melies and the Kid Who Had a Problem but then Solved It After 45 Minutes)
J. Edgar

The Help
The Iron Lady
My Week with Marylin
Take Shelter

Brendan Gleeson - Albert Nobbs

Kiera Knightly - A Dangerous Method


Meek's Cutoff

Alexandre Desplat - Carnage

"I once found a human spinal column in my fecal matter." -Spoons, Rango

The Lincoln Lawyer


Green Lantern

That freaking train movie. I can't even remember what it's called, and don't care enough to look it up. Stop Time or.....Turn Back or something. I'm not even making this up, I honestly can't remember it. Mind Train. Oh yeah, fucking Source Code.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Those. Hands.

Can someone please tell me what is so hard about photographing someone with their hands in front of their fucking faces and then putting it on a poster?

The design for this poster is fairly interesting. I'm loving the the title in the box, the general placement of the text, and even the pose of that kid with the extremely annoying demeanor. But literally, if anyone can tell what possible reason a studio or design firm would have for using photoshop to get those fake hands in front of that fake face, I would love to hear it.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Can you spot the six differences between these two pictures?

Maybe it's inevitable that performance capture will one day be recognized as an awardable achievement, but probably not any time soon, probably not against non-digital actors, and most probably not by the Academy.

Slashfilm wrote a feature on this Rise of the Planet of the Apes campaign for consideration:

I would very much like to know why the studio decided to go with this image. It seems wholly counter-intuitive to the campaign. Look at Andy Serkis's mouth - open. Look at Caesar's mouth - closed. They're not making the same expression. How could they? One is a chimp.

No matter how excellent a performance an actor gives (and Serkis's is very excellent) character animators have the ability, and often do make subtle (or not subtle) changes in the performance. How could an awarding body compare digitally altered or created performances to those that aren't?

We've all seen the companion arguments brought about by performance capture. Full chimp make up, full nose make up, computer generated tears, and these Alice in Wonderland screen tests (skip to 0:20 and pay close attention to Alice at 1:20) all raise the question of what is and isn't performance capture. And the questions are no closer to being solved this year by Cesar and his pals.

All this to say, I don't believe for a second that Fox expects Andy Serkis to be nominated. The Academy went through this same issue with Serkis in a more heavily "acted" role, for a movie much more in the Oscar spotlight, Return of the King. But if you want to get awards buzz for your film, a controversial topic like this that gets blogged and reblogged is going to bring a lot more attention than your typical consideration spreads. Kudos for that, I suppose.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Hunger Games character posters revealed!

Of course we are probably months away from a Hunger Games outdoor advertising campaign, but here's a little snacketizer for you THG fans. Lionsgate revealed a string of character posters today, and I couldn't wait to comment on them.

The Hunger Games character poster Peeta Josh Hutcherson
The Hunger Games character poster Katniss Jennifer Lawrence
The Hunger Games character poster Effie Elizabeth Banks
The Hunger Games character poster Rue Amandla Stenberg
The Hunger Games character poster Gale Liam Hemsworth
The Hunger Games character poster Cato Alexander Ludwig
The Hunger Games character poster Haymitch Woody Harrelson
The Hunger Games character poster Cinna Lenny Kravitz

Clearly Katniss (the protagonist for those unfamiliar) is set apart from the rest in a brilliant and subtle way. Pretty awesome when you can see that the designers of a campaign have really put a lot of thought into it. (When something looks great it's obviously to the credit of the designers; when something looks terrible, it's because the execs made them do it. Right designers?)

I also do like the new logo, only slightly tweaked from the book cover. But at this size, the mockingjay is too obscured by the angle and the flames to even see what it is. They should have chosen one feature or the other, and I'd say the flames. I also wish it didn't look like the title was stabbing Peeta and Cato in the eye.

(So good of those websites with exclusives to put their dirty little watermarks on the images. I'd like to thank the fine folks at Yahoo! Movies, MTV Hollywood Crush, Moviefone, MSN's The Hitlist, and Fandango for not thinking that Lionsgate giving them an exclusive means they own the image. Also to Coming Soon for originally compiling them.)

Commentary that includes SPOILERS after the jump.