Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscars 2012 - Play by Play

Here we are again: another year, another Oscars. This one started off very strangely. While lounging at the house a little before 6:00 PM, I was just catching up on my last season of Smallville, when I heard a knock at the door. I looked over at the door for a moment and was like, who the hell could that be? We were going to head to the in-laws in a about an hour or so so who could that...the knocking continued. I opened the door and--it was the in-laws. My mother-in-law was carting our food and my father-in-law was almost obsessively babbling about the pre-show and that we were missing it. I checked my watch, it's only 6:00, what the hell?  Anyway, it was realized by all that we were actually coming over there so it wasn't necessary to bring food over to us. Before I could turn around to see what was happening my father-in-law was already gone, apparently he reaaaaaaaaly wants to see the walk on the red carpet, you know to see who's wearing who. I got over to the in-laws' house and I found my father-in-law sitting in the car, he'd forgotten his keys to the house. This is the kind of devotion we give to the Oscars, we get so scared to miss anything that we forget our house keys.

I really haven't done any Oscar prep work like I usually do so we're going to jump right in. Just were watching the pre-show the Red carpet stuff, I honestly don't care much about this part but some others in the house think it's the most important. Saw Rooney Mara, first thing out of the gate FIN (Father in Law) says her hair looks like shit. He then asks where he's seen her before, I said you might have seen her in the box during the Superbowl her family owns the Giants. He gives a long ohhhhhhhhh, and then says that's right, no more comments about her hair. Go Giants! Was that Viola Davis? I didn't even recognize her with her short red hair. Tamar apparently hates Michelle Williams dress, the flounce the bow the color and the concept, she says sucks. Although little sis disagrees. OK, I really don't like this fashion show stuff, we'll check back with the opening number.

Ah,it's great to have Billy back, so much class very fun and he always knows how to make an entrance. Clooney's pretty funny, had a great bit with the Descendants and the Justin Bieber thing was a little odd but it was great seeing Billy's Sammy Davis Jr., too, Nuff said.

Tom Hanks is up on the platform to give the awards for Cinematography and Art Design.  Hugo got the award, Robert Richardson, they seem to be flipping around a bit. Hugo got the win for Art Design too. Interesting, guess they are saving the big awards for the Artist later. SIL thought the Husband wife team looked familiar, I shouldn't have been drinking when she said Boris and Natasha. I swear if that guy was wearing shades and a black hat she's be spot on.

The tribute to cinema had some interesting clips, not sure why they had to start with Titanic and friggin Twilight, but whatever. I loved Billy's quip about the last clip that showed the famous diner scene from When Harry Met Sally, Billy says that was a long time ago when we still made film.  Here here.

Costume Design & Makeup - J-Lo and Cameron Diaz.  Looks like it's going to the Artist, their first of the night, Mark Bridges. The first of many to come bought by Harvey. J-Lo and Cameron have been pulling on the jug a bit with their weird Vogue attempt. The Iron Lady, huh, um ok. Mark Coullier and J. Roy Helland, short sweet and to the point.

Foreign Language Film - Sandra Bullock is out to give the award. We all called A Seperation, FIL says of course. Looks like a cheery little film, but I've been hearing about this one for quite a while. Very nice speech about the state of Iran and the hope that the troubles in that country will abate peacefully.

Supporting Actress - Christian Bale is out to give the award. Octavia Spencer, nice, she was pretty great in the Help, here's hoping that Viola Davis gets it as well cause she deserves it just as much.

Film Editing and Sound Editing & Sound Mixing - Tina Fey and Bradley Cooper are presenting. I got that one wrong, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo got that one. It is a fantastic film. Those guys were funny, it really seemed like they were totally floored that they won.  Hugo got this one, it feels like they are giving Hugo most of the technical awards and the big ones to the Artist probably. The two editors are a little goofy with the Hugo, no Hugo bit. But I'll go with it. Man I really need to see Hugo, I've heard it looks fantastic. Hugo got Sound Mixing too.

Loved seeing Kermit and Ms. Piggy except they are now going away and introducing some weird cirque de soleil tribute to the movies.  I see the theme here, I appreciate that they are trying to get the love back for movies but two dudes flying around to represent North by Northwest just seems a little too odd. Maybe they are trying to make movies come alive with the flipping around and the the um, yeah these guys are talented but I'm not sure if this is the best way to bring that love of film back.

Documentary Film - Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow - He's funny he's doing some documentary in a documentary.  He's always a rip, love it. The Oscar goes to Undefeated. Wow they just cut their sound. Ouch, but they did go over a bit. But anybody catch the bomb that dude dropped, cause they bleeped it out.

Animated Feature Film - Chris Rock, nice bit about paying him a mil just to record his voice for Madagascar. Rango took it, really? I was pretty sure it wasn't going to go to Kung Fu Panda 2 or Puss in Boots but I guess I shouldn't be so surprised that they gave it to Rango, it's just weird enough to be a big winner for Oscar.

Visual Effects - Ben Stiller and Emma Stone are giving out the effects award. Hugo again, hmm, I didn't expect that either. I would have thought maybe Harry Potter, if it was going to get it at all it would have been for the last one but I guess not.

Best Supporting Actor - Melissa Leo is out to give out this award. As expected this one goes to Christopher Plummer. I hadn't seen the movie Beginners, but I do know that he's been in the business too damn long to have never been nominated until now. So kudos to you sir, he was great in Dragon Tattoo and in pretty much every role I've seen him in. The guy is definitely Old Hollywood in a good way.

Now for the boring part with Tom Sherak, the head of the Academy. Just waiting for his bad pun or joke didn't happen, short and to the point. Good deal. Although Billy hits it, as soon as he walks off stage he calls Sherak Mister Excitement.

Best Original Score - So the score went to the silent film The Artist, yeah I know you have music throughout so I guess it makes sense. John Williams has won a few times so I get no giving it to him for Tin Tin, but I really figured this was going to go to Hugo, a little surprising. This guy is really trying to butter up the crowd wanting them to love him, hmm, ok.

Best Original Song - Will Farrell and Zach Galifinakis looking ridiculous in white suits banging symbols. The Muppets! Nice, it was a very cute song. I really enjoyed the movie so it's pretty cool that they got it. Is that the second one for Muppets, did they get a win for Rainbow Connection? I'll have to check that later. But very cool tribute to Jim Henson.

Adaptated Screenplay - Angie is deliberately showing me her leg, I think she is trying to seduce me through the TV. The Descendants took it, as I predicted. Alexander Payne is always a favorite at the Oscars, but this one was pretty damn good, I did enjoy it.

Best Original Screenplay - Wow Woody Allen got it for Midnight in Paris, didn't see that coming. I was sure that the Artist was going to get this one too--interesting. So far the Artist hasn't taken much tonight, makes me think even more it's probably going to walk away with the big prize at the end of the night. I picked Bridesmaids but I should have figured the Academy would keep with the tradition of shitting on comedies.

Film Technical Awards - Mila Jovavich just had an overly dramatic walk out to the stadium. These awards were given a couple days ago very cool.

Short Films - The Bridesmaids girls are out to give the nominees for best live action short. Short films, the Shore won, so I just fired Tamar from picking Short Films anymore. She told me to pick Raju, Raju!!! I really was thinking of picking the Shore, gotta stick with my instincts next time. For Documentary Short Subject - Saving Face won. Yes again, I had to fire Tamar she chose the Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom. This is a pretty tough subject man, war torn Pakistan and the skill of these plastic surgeons to repair the faces of the victims of that region. The last one is Short Animated Film.  The winner is--Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Got that one, I'm one for three with Short Films.

Best Director - Michael Douglas just headed out to the stage, now we'll get a chance to see where this night is going. If the Artist takes it then we know it's going to get all the rest of the big awards probably. It's been a pretty predictable night thus far, thank god for Billy Crystal who as always is doing a great job as host. So here we go.....So it's the Artist got it and Michel Hazanavicius and he's a little bit of a twit honestly--but as my good friend Mike likes to tell me I really hate the French, so I guess I'm biased. But ugh, this night is going to be even more predictable.

Honorary Oscar time - Dick Smith, James Earl Jones & Oprah Winfrey - James Earl Jones for sure this guy has been robbed for years so yes give him his damn Oscar, I don't know Dick Smith but the guy sounds like he's done some incredible movies so great job. Oprah, ugh, Oprah, why is Oprah there? Cause she gives money? She hasn't made a movie in I don't know how long, why not give it to someone who actually still makes movies or actually has a full career of making movies. I'm just saying.

The Honored Tradition of Remembering those lost this past year - This is now the second year where they show the lady singing and it looks like they missed the first couple names--that's really disrespectful man. Come on. The woman had a good voice though. I liked how they did it the last few years where they showed a quick clip of the film or films along with the names. If they aren't actors sometimes we don't recognize the names of the people who passed so it's helpful to get a little context.

So they are doing a recurring theme here talking to various actors and actresses and their thoughts about the experience of watching movies. It's a nice touch, I kind of like it. It shows a little bit about the passion of the process, I can relate.

Best Actor - The lovely Natalie Portman just stepped out on the stage.  So yes I get that it's hard sometimes to act without the comfort of sound but it just feels sort of gimmicky this absurd love of the Artist. But everyone knows where this is going, I'm sure it's going to be the Artist's Jean Djurdean.  And of course it goes to the Artist--so fucking predictable. Wow he totally knew he was going to win. I hope he realizes first timers have it the worst once you win an Oscar. I admit I haven't seen the movie yet and I hope to soon but I still can't fathom that this movie is somehow the best acted & directed picre of the entire year. I'm gonna call bullshit, just a little bit. These voters are like sheep and that's how they vote. Oh, everyone is talking about this movie the Artist I guess it's great so let's just vote for it in the big columns. If Oscar truly wants to get its prestige back they need to fix the way these fucking snobs vote.

Best Actress - Colin Firth is presenting the award. Fuck again!!!! Really Meryl Streep for that dumb fucking looking movie, again with the damn British films. So now that she's won for the third time stop nominating her again!!! Yes Meryl that was me saying that and, yes whatever. Viola Davis was certainly robbed and I think Mrs. Streep knows that but again, whatever.

Best Picture - Tom Cruise is giving the award for Best Picture. This is going to be predictable again, I'm sure it will be the Artist. Here goes....Wow big fucking shock a silent black and white film won Best Picture--a movie no ordinary person watching this broadcast has even fucking seen. Harvey must have spent lots of money on all of the big awards and I commend him again on being the fat douchebag that he is that does everything possible to make these award shows boring as shit. If it wasn't for Billy Crystal this would have been the worst Oscars in a long time. Or at least last year.

End Scene

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Act of Valor

Wanted to remind everybody to go and see Act of Valor this weekend. This isn't just another plug although it is from my company Relativity. It's truly a fantastic film chronicling the stories of our men and women in uniform all over the globe.  If you see any movie this weekend this should be high on your list. It has all the action and excitement of a pulse pounding thriller as well as insight and character into the kind of day a Navy Seal can expect in the field of battle.

Check out the website and enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

This Means War

I guess I'm still feeling the spy genre again this week. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to see I was curious about Ghost Rider but I don't know, Nicholas Cage just has left me flat so often lately I just couldn't bring myself to go. I was also contemplating seeing Chronicle but I just wasn't sure I wanted to see it on the big screen. Then we have door number 3. I really love Tom Hardy in pretty much everything I've seen of him and Chris Pine is really becoming a great leading man for these kind of action flicks, and of course you can't go wrong with Reese Witherspoon unless she's in some kind of schmaltzy boring rom-com. Which this isn't, mostly. There are many times though where I feel like Reese believes she's in Sweet Home Alabama and the guys think they are in Mister and Mrs. Smith or True Lies or something. Which quite frankly makes it hard to really love this film.
Two apparently seasoned CIA agents and friends, Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine), seem to have a good thing going at the agency where they catch the bad guys and things go boom. It seems at times to desperately want to be Lethal Weapon. Anyway, the two of them seem the best of friends until they discover that they are both dating the same girl, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) and from then on it's a game of brinkmanship and one-upping each other until they are smacking each other with 2X4's and such.
The real problem with this movie isn't the basic plot it seems like there is a really fun quirky movie in here trying to get out but then, and I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, McG comes into the picture and waters it all down to complete uselessness. Also Chelsea Handler is completely annoying and terrible and you want her to go away about two seconds after you hear her grating voice. Why the hell is she in this movie? There is no edge to this movie there are a few funny lines and the actors are good and they seem like they are having fun which is a plus for a movie like this, but the movie just feels very scripted and boring. It also can't seem to make up it's mind if this is an action movie or a rom-com. It certainly isn't both. It fails pretty bad in the romantic department and the bad guy is completely useless and one dimensional, so it fails there too. It would be curious to see a movie like this in a better directors hands, to see if the outcome would have been any different.
Anyway, if you are looking for a silly non-threatening rom-com with some carefully placed action sequences then you may get something out of this movie, otherwise I would avoid it. There are better movies on the horizon and you aren't going to lose sleep over this one.

Grade: 2 Buckets

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Safe House

The past two weeks my wife and I have been catching up on some old movies. Lately we've been on a bit of a spy kick. For some reason Tamar has suddenly realized that she loves Spy Movies, like a lot. So we watched some old James Bond movies, Spy Game the Bourne movies and the Mission Impossible series. We've come to the conclusion that some of these modern spy flicks are all great and unique in their own way but they really don't make the spy genre like they used to. To be fair it was the Cold War you couldn't paint a better scene for intrigue suspense and story then Eastern Europe with a divided Berlin. Spy Game and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy are surely exceptions also given the fact that they take place during that dark period. But I digress, Safe House, from the trailer looked like a fun romp'em stomp'em thriller, like Man on Fire meets the Bourne Identity. For the most part that's what it was but it could have been so much more.
Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), a still green C.I.A. agent is desperate to get into the action. So far he's spent about 9 months monitoring the Safe House in Cape Town, South Africa, bored out of his mind. He's requested transfers, bitched and moaned to his superiors, but as the trailer suggest he's about to get more than he's bargained for. Seasoned former Spy Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington) has surrendered at the Embassy but it looks like he's got some major heavy hitters tight on his trail. This guy went rogue has killed multiple agents and is holding onto some major Intel. Before they can fully debrief Frost, of course things go south and the Safe House is compromised putting Frost and Weston in the field and on the run.
This was a really fun action flick, it had a little bit of everything you want in a spy thriller some intrigue a good setting and some really excellent action pieces. I thought the pacing and the characters were pretty good for the most part. The only true flaw I saw was it was so damn predictable. Unfortunately you'll see the twist coming a million miles away, which is unfortunate, because there was so much potential for this film to be even better and it just falls a little short. Denzel is at his best as an former spy whose allegiances are hard to pin down. Ryan Reynolds isn't bad as the newbie trying to wrap his head around the mind fuck that Frost tries to lay on him. Sometimes in these roles it feels like he's trying to hard and this one is no exception. But Denzel certainly helps him to elevate his game in their scenes together. I also liked the supporting turns from Sam Shepard as the C.I.A boss and Brendan Gleeson as Weston's handler. Vera Farmiga was kind of underused as a section chief who just seemed to whine an awful lot. Which is unfortunate cause I really like her in these roles but for some reason this character she was playing was a bit underwritten. Anyway, if you are looking for a fun chase flick with some good action then check this one out.
Grade: 3 Buckets

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Underworld: Awakening

Before I start this post let me say, probably for the 100th time, but I'll say it again, there is a lot of product out there on the market. In some ways I wish I could see all of these movies coming out but as I get older I find myself getting more and more picky about what I actually want to see in the movie theatre. I swear before I had my son I didn't have this particular problem. I saw a trailer I liked it enough I saw the movie, it was always that easy. Now I end up having a ritual where I see multiple trailers maybe read a review or two, hem and haw for a week or so and then maybe see the movie. But more often then not lately I've been passing on most things. My brother was in town last week and he apparently loves these Underworld Movies. I like them a lot myself but not apparently as much as my brother cause I saw the trailer and I did my usual hem and haw and thought I would pass. But since he seemed so hyped up on the prospect we set our sights on the Vampire Lycan war movie. To be honest the real reason to see any of these Underworld movies is for Kate Beckinsale, good Lord the woman is gorgeous. And to see her in Wonderful 3D, even better.
This is the Fourth film in the series but in actuality it's a sequel to the second film. I skipped the Rise of the Lycans movie it just seemed kind of dumb, plus no Kate. Anyway if you haven't seen the previous flicks I'll break them down for you quickly. Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is called a "Death Dealer" or Vampire. She is a warrior and in the first film was looking to exact some revenge on the werewolves, or Lycans, for killing her human family. The war between the Vampires and Lycans rages on until she discovers a man descended from the first Vampire and first Lycan, Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman, except in this movie), Michael carries both DNA  strains of Vampire and Lycan blood and when he is bit by both he becomes the first Hybrid. The Lycans want him to wipe out the Vamps, the Vamps just want to wipe him out. Selene falls for the guy and discovers that the Lycans didn't wipe out her family her Father Figure Vampire Victor did. She kills Victor and runs off with Michael. In the second film the two of them are on the run and end up fighting Marcus Corvinus the first Vampire, a super bad ass who has giant fucking bat wings. Michael hulks out and kills Corvinus and that sets up that un-necessary pre-quel, which we will skip and go right on to the now. 
So we start out with Selene and Michael on the run as always but they get blown up and separated. Selene finds herself encased in some kind of Carbonite. She also discovers she's lost about 12 years. She can't seem to find Michael and she's even more pissed off now cause she's being hunted by humans who apparently have figured out about the war between the Lycans and the Vampires and are now looking to wipe them all out. There are a few small twists in the story but for the most part this is just a bang'em up and slam'em down action flick. Selene is trying to piece together the time she lost as well as try to find out what happened to Michael and it would seem she also has a physical reminder of Michael running around, in the form of a 12 year old girl, Eve (India Eisley), who is linked to both her parents in a special way. She can also transform like her pop into a hybrid Vampire/Lycan that can kick some major ass. Selene gets some help from a sympathetic cop, Detective Sebastian (Michael Ealy) and a battle ready Vamp named David (Theo James). They come together to fight the very cruel Dr. Jacob Lane (Stephen Rea).
The 3D is pretty good and I liked the way they used it. Not too in your face but effective for sense of space, very similar to the way the last Harry Potter was done. I also liked that it had a sense of fun too, the action was exciting and I really enjoyed Selene's blow out battle with the bad ass super Lycan at the end. The effects were pretty great too except for the short scenes with Michael which we're supposed to believe is Scott Speedman, it felt like a rush job. They tried to make the stand-in actor look like him using some digital fakes but it was pretty clear it wasn't him.  Even so it didn't distract too much from the movie. It's not overly heavy on dialogue and frankly it's pretty similar to the second one so story wise it isn't that compelling or deep but if you're looking to have a good time with a fun action romp with Vampires and Werewolves and Kate Beckinsale in skin-tight leather then there isn't any reason why you shouldn't see this in 3D. 
Grade: 3 Buckets